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Chicago Tribune

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In 1986, the Tribune announced that celebrated film critic Gene Siskel, the Tribune's best-known writer, was no longer the paper's film critic, and that his position with the paper had shifted from being that of a full-time film critic to that of a freelance contract writer who was to write about the film industry for the Sunday paper and also provide capsule film reviews for the paper's entertainment sections. The demotion occurred after Siskel and longtime Chicago film critic colleague Roger Ebert decided to shift the production of their weekly movie-review show—then known as At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert and later known as Siskel & Ebert & The Movies—from Tribune Entertainment to The Walt Disney Company's Buena Vista Television unit. "He has done a great job for us," editor James Squires said at the time. "It's a question of how much a person can do physically. We think you need to be a newspaper person first, and Gene Siskel has always tried to do that. But there comes a point when a career is so big that you can't do that. " Siskel declined to comment on the new arrangement, but Ebert publicly criticized Siskel's Tribune bosses for punishing Siskel for taking their television program to a company other than Tribune Entertainment. Siskel remained in that freelance position until his death in 1999. He was replaced as film critic by Dave Kehr.



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