The official word: “Today” Arts Editor and Critic, Gene Shalit will be leaving the program after more than 40 great years. On Thursday, November 11, “Today” will celebrate his incredible tenure and salute his work over the decades.
“Today” Executive Producer Jim Bell said: “Gene is not just a ‘Today’ show treasure but a television legend and an American icon. We salute him for his unprecedented 40-year run on a single television program, a feat unlikely to ever be matched.” (end announcement)
The Associated Press says Shalit, 84, is not retiring; he plans to do commercials and work online. But his heyday is clearly past. I could not tell you what he has thought of any movie in a long time; the AP says he hasn't had an on-air review since May.
Of course, for the most part I remember his style -- the mustache, the big hair -- which made him a memorable TV presence and the cheerful demeanor and jokes which made him accessible to viewers. But it was not a style that worked with all movies, or that suggested movies could be serious, thoughtful, complicated, important.