CHICAGO, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The words Hollywood craves -- "two thumbs up" -- are gone while reviewer Roger Ebert and Disney-ABC work on a renewal of "At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper."
Disney-ABC Domestic Television waited until late last week to announce Ebert was withholding permission to use the thumbs, which he and late partner Gene Siskel copyrighted, reported the Chicago Sun-Times, for whom Ebert reviews movies. Ebert denied he withheld the designation.
The long-time movie reviewer is negotiating a new contract with the program from which he has been absent since cancer surgery last year.
"They made a first offer … which I considered offensively low," Ebert said by e-mail to the Chicago Tribune. "I responded with a counteroffer. They did not reply to this, and ... ordered the 'thumbs' removed from the show. This is not something I expected after an association (with Disney) of over 22 years."
During Ebert's absence, Richard Roeper, a fellow Sun-Times columnist and co-host since 2000, has been paired with guest critics.