I really always wanted to be a Nielsen Family. Unfortunately you can't volunteer to be one. They must pick you. It is a little weird that I have never met a Nielsen family. Has anybody you've know even know one. I kind of think the whole thing is a big scam. There is probably only like 2 Nielsen families with horrible taste that are deciding the fate of our favorite TV shows. I mean, how else would shows like "Everybody Loves Raymond" last 9 years. I have never met anyone who watched that show. Home Improvement lasted 8 seasons, yet My So-Called Life was canceled. Major Dad lasted 4 years and Twin Peaks only 2? Who are these Nielsen families?
This is what they have to say on the official website...
Q. "Why Have I never met a Nielsen Family"
A. "Actually, you may have. There are hundreds of thousands of "Nielsen families", including diary and metered households. We ask our households not to reveal they are in the Nielsen Media Research panel. This protects their privacy and helps ensure the integrity of the panel. In the few cases where homes have revealed their NielsenTV status, we removed them from the metered panels or disregarded their diaries."
Nice excuse. But I still think something weird is going on with these "Nielsen Families." So you can only be picked at random. Do they just call you up or come to your front door like Ed McMahon. The only Neilsen family I have ever even heard of was the Connor family on an episode of Roseanne.
Let me get back to Siskel & Ebert. The official website of "At the Movies" just unleashed an amazing database of most of the old Siskel & Ebert and Ebert & Roeper television reviews. You can go here to watch them. It really is amazing. You can go back and search for all your favorite movies and see what they had to say about them. The video quality of the reviews are really great. It does take a couple seconds for them to load. But I imagine that I am not the only dork searching this new database tonight. It did just launch last week. It is much easier than trying to watch some bad quaity YouTube videos that somebody transfered from their vhs tapes. The first review I searched for was "Showgirls." And of course, it was there. You can watch it here. Or watch their review of "Lost Boys" here. They gave both Showgirls and Lost Boys two thumbs down. I guess both movies have become better with age.
The Siskel & Ebert show has gone through many changes over the years. The show started in 1975 as "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You." Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were two movie reviewers from the big newspapers of Chicago. The show then became "Sneak Previews", then "At the Movies", then "Siskel & Ebert at the Movies." In 1999 Gene Siskel took a leave of absence after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. After his death. They changed the show to Roger Ebert & the Movies and had a revolving set of hosts. For some reason they decided to keep Richard Roeper as the permanent co-host. The show then became "Ebert & Roeper at the Movies" and then just "Ebert & Roeper." In 2004, Ebert was diagnosed with cancer. He took a leave of absence in 2006. The show is now hosted by Roeper and a revolving set of guests. I am hoping Ebert will be back on the show soon. But at this point, he may not ever be back. He really is the one that makes the show great. It has never fully recovered since Siskel left. And I seriously doubt it will ever be as good if he never comes back. These are some very difficult shoes to fill. The different guest hosts do make the show sort of interesting. But watching these old video clips makes you realize how great both Siskel & Ebert were. I always seemed to side with Ebert's review. Except for "Showgirls" and "Lost Boys."
Here is a clip of one of the older opening sequences for "At the Movies with Siskel & Ebert"...