It's been some time since I checked in to let you know how I'm doing. I had hoped to be back in my seat in the balcony alongside my partner Richard Roeper, but the surgeons tell me they will have to take a staged, multi-phased approach to getting me back in shape. To borrow from the Chicago Bears, we tried for the long pass, but now we're going for a series of shorter passes until we score a touchdown. Although I won't be able to conduct my red carpet interviews at the Academy Awards, I plan to conduct my "Outguess Ebert" contest in the Sun-Times, and I intend to work with WLS/ABC 7 to make my predictions for the Oscars. In fact, I am eagerly awaiting watching the Academy Awards like a regular spectator for the first time. And Richard and the guest hosts will carry on our tradition on "Ebert & Roeper" of telling who they think should win.
All of the tickets for my Overlooked Film Festival have sold out, and we expect to have some nice surprises in Champaign-Urbana April 25-29. I published two books this fall: "Awake in the Dark" and the "Movie Yearbook 2007." And I am working on the follow-up to "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie," tentatively called, "Your Movie Sucks." I am also looking forward to contributing to the very handsome "Ebert & Roeper" website (www.AtTheMoviesTV.com). In the meantime, my dear wife Chaz and I want to thank my loyal viewers and readers for keeping us in their thoughts and prayers. We have been receiving a steady stream of calls, letters, flowers and e-mails and they have sustained us through this time out. I am especially grateful to Gwynne Thomas, Janice Marinelli and Sal Sardo at Buena Vista for their staunch support during this ordeal. They have also worked so hard with Richard Roeper and Don Dupree to get the best guest critics to help maintain the mission of the show. The show has been consistently interesting and informative thanks to all of them. I am also extremely grateful to Emily Barr, Ron Magers, Jennifer Graves and Marsha Jordan at WLS/ABC 7, who have not only kept my work on the air, but who have been at my bedside when I really needed them. Finally, thanks to John Cruikshank, John Barron, Laura Emerick and Miriam Dinunzio and my other friends at the Chicago Sun-Times for keeping an interesting mix of my work in the papers whenever possible. Thanks to Sue Roush and Donna O'Brien at AM Universal Press Syndicate; John Cary and Jim Emerson at RogerEbert.com; special thanks to my agents, Don and Eliot Ephraim; and my eternal gratitude to our Personal Assistant, Carol Iwata. Now that I have extended more thanks than an Oscar winner, let me just say that I hope to return soon. As Faulkner says: "We shall not merely prevail, we shall endure."