Roger Ebert has denied that the use of the "thumb system" has been prohibited on his syndicated series At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ebert is in the middle of contract negotiations with Disney-ABC Domestic Television concerning the show.
Ebert and the family of the late Gene Siskel own the thumbs-up/thumbs-down trademark. This week's season premier of At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper was absent a showing of thumbs. Disney stated that Ebert had withheld the use of the "thumb" until his contract could be signed.
In a statement on his own website, Ebert stated that he never asked for the removal of the "thumb system" on his show, which is being co-hosted by a number of guest critics until he fully recovers from throat cancer. Apparently, Disney took the "thumbs" away after Ebert counter-offered the distributor's first offer.
Ebert said, "I had made it clear the thumbs could remain during good-faith negotiations."