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Roger Ebert's Coming Back to TV – with a Computer Voice

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Roger Ebert hasn’t let the loss of his voice keep him from speaking: The wildly popular film critic has given two thumbs up to a revival of his long-time movie review show.

“This is the rebirth of a dream,” Ebert said of the new show, Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies, which originated in another form 35 years ago as Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You with co-host Gene Siskel, and will start airing in January.

The feisty Ebert will share his strong views with audiences using a computer voice in segments called Roger’s Office. However, his days of employing his thumbs as a means of rating movies are over. Instead, his two new co-hosts – Christy Lemire of the Associated Press and Elvis Mitchell of National Public Radio – will take over those duties.

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“They’ll be awarding the thumbs, and you can’t have three thumbs,” Ebert explains in a statement announcing the new program.

He will act as co-producer along with his wife, Chaz, on the show, which will launch from its birthplace, WTTW Chicago, before being broadcast nationally on public television. Other incarnations of the show were Sneak Previews and At the Movies with co-host Richard Roeper.

Ebert, 68, was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 and underwent a series of operations. He lost his voice and part of his jaw after a surgery in 2006. He and Chaz say they have navigated some difficult times with hope and optimism.