'Lyons & Mankiewicz At the Movies' Promises A Bold New Era of Critic Hackery

Monday's news that Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper officially ended their eponymous film-review show might have presaged a dark, thumbless era of criticism, but we're learning today that all is not lost. The higher-ups at Disney are reportedly set to relaunch At the Movies with unique incestuous flava for a new generation, inviting E! fluffer Ben Lyons and ex-Young Turk/current TCM host Ben Mankiewicz aboard for all the middlebrow, multiplex-ready chatter America can stand. And to hear the guys tell it after the jump, they can't wait to get started:

"I am incredibly excited to be involved with such a prestigious show," said co-host Ben Lyons. "Reviewing films for a living is a thrill, and now that I will be a critic for At the Movies, it is an honor and huge responsibility that I look forward to."

"I am thrilled and honored beyond words to be joining the series," added co-host Ben Mankiewicz. "As a movie fanatic, this is my dream job. Without question, I certainly have very big shoes to fill."

Fine. It's not really the nepotism we mind — Lyons being the son of former At The Movies current Reel Talk host and syndicated hack Jeffrey Lyons (and grandson of NYC gossip Leonard Lyons); Mankewicz derived from his political-guru dad Frank Mankewicz and Citizen Kane-scripting grandfather Herman Mankewicz. That's not the kids' fault. However, the proliferation of Lyons' notorious quotewhoredom gives us pause, as does our fear that three generations of inbreeding within the critical gene pool will yield a monster that neither Ebert/Siskel/Roeper loyalists nor filmgoing kiddies want. But the guys come cheap, we suppose, and "Two Mutant Flippers Up!™" is kind of catchy, so we guess we'll reserve judgment until the Sept. 6 season premiere.

[Photo: Thompson on Hollywood]