PBS: Fred Willard was fired to avoid 'distraction'
At the Television Critics Association’s summer season press tour in Los Angeles, Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, blamed a tight production schedule for the removal of Fred Willard, 78, as the narrator of the network’s Antiques Roadshow spin-off, Market Warriors. Since the show is currently taping, execs had to make a quick decision.
“We actually needed to move fast because we’re taping now,” said Kerger. “It’s a new series, and our concern really is that [Willard’s] circumstance would become a distraction to the series, which we’re hoping will have an ongoing presence on public television.”
Antiques Roadshow host Mark Wahlberg will re-voice the Warriors episodes Willard had already taped, and the show will air Monday as scheduled.
As reported earlier today, Willard — who was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of a lewd public act in an adult theater — will not face jail time.