In the wake of actor Fred Willard’s arrest this week, PBS has instructed member stations to not air the episodes of its new series “Market Warriors,”in which Willard was the host and narrator.
Mark Walberg of “Antiques Roadshow” will take over as host and re-voice the episodes already completed by Willard, who has been permanently dropped from the series.
Willard, 72, was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of committing a lewd act at an adult movie theater in Hollywood.
“Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the ‘Market Warriors’ series,” a WGBH spokesperson said in an e-mail on Thursday. The show is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
Willard’s lawyer released a statement to TMZ on Thursday afternoon: “With all due respect to the individual officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law.”
“Market Warriors,” a series from the producers from “Antiques Roadshow,” follows people around the country as they search for antiques, which they will later try to sell for a large profit at an auction. The show debuted this past Monday right on local PBS affiliates WETA and MPT. Willard’s bio was quickly removed from the show’s Web site on Thursday.
Meanwhile, ABC declined to comment about Willard, who is the host of its current summer impov show “Trust Us With Your Life.” All of ABC’s ordered episodes on this series are already in the can and four episodes have already aired. The network plans to run out the show’s short summer order, including the two back-to-back episodes that are scheduled to air this coming Tuesday.