Twenty-four-year-old Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, a contributor to The Chicago Weekly and Mubi.com, will share the balcony with longtime AP critic Christy Lemire on "Ebert Presents at the Movies," Roger Ebert announced.
He replaces former New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell, host of "The Treatment" on Santa Monica's KCRW, who taped a pilot with previously announced host Lemire. Ebert has denied reports that the two lacked chemistry.
The choice of the youthful Vishnevetsky reflects Ebert's longtime fondness for surprising and dark horse picks: Just last week he said that an online video recorded during the East Coast blizarrd, "Idiot With a Tripod," deserved an Oscar.
The new weekly program debuts Jan. 21 on public television stations in 48 of the top 50 markets. It will be produced in Chicago at WTTW, where Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert began taping "Sneak Previews" some 35 years ago.
The Russian-born, Chicago-based Vishnevetsky is a critic and essayist for Mubi.com, an online magazine focused on independent, foreign, and classic cinema.
His insightful, in-depth approach may win him more audience respect than the last twentysomething host of "At the Movies." Ben Lyons, who took over at 26, was often criticized as lacking any depth of film knowledge.