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Enemies, A Love Story, the first history of the path-breaking TV show Siskel & Ebert at the Movies by Josh Schollmeyer will be published as an eBook single by Now and Then Reader on Wednesday, March 21.
The book draws upon interviews with thirty-six participants to tell the story of how the two men—Roger Ebert, the film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times and Gene Siskel, the film critic at the Chicago Tribune—essentially invented televised film criticism.
“Not since Lucy and Ricky have two people fit together so well on television,” says writer Schollmeyer of the rival Chicago movie critics who found themselves bedfellows on national television. “Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s chemistry crackled whether they were on their own show, David Letterman or 20/20—where they were always able to somehow maintain, quite organically, the proper dosage of love and hate.”
The show premiered on Chicago Public Television on Sept. 4, 1975 as a monthly program called Opening Soon at a Theater Near You. It went national in 1977 as a biweekly show called Sneak Previews and weekly in 1979. It was the highest rated weekly entertainment series in the history of public broadcasting at the time. The two men left the show in 1982 in a contract dispute and started At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, which was syndicated by Tribune Entertainment. In 1986 they moved the show to Disney where it continued until Siskel’s death from cancer in 1999. Ebert hosted a version of the show with a variety of other hosts until 2010.
Schollmeyer’s article first appeared as the cover story in the premiere issue of The Chicagoan Magazine. He is the executive editor at Playboy and the winner of a National Magazine Award.
The ebook is an expanded version of the article being published by Now and Then Reader, a newly established digital publisher of original short-form nonfiction books and essays. The book will be available on Amazon’s Kindle Singles, Apple Quick Reads, Kobo Short Reads and for purchase.
Ebook singles are an emerging new digital form. The generally range in length from about 15-60 pages (5,000-30,000 words) and are priced around $1.99. PaidContent.org recently estimated that Amazon alone has sold more than two million singles since introducing the format fourteen months ago.
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