PBS on Firing Fred Willard: "It Would Become a Distraction"
PBS' president said the network fired Fred Willard after his indecency arrest to keep the production schedule moving.
At the fall TV previews in Los Angeles, Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, said Willard's removal as the narrator of Market Warriors, the network's spin-off of Antiques Roadshow, was mostly a function of a tight schedule. "We are actually in production with that series, so at the end of the week, when it became known, we had to move fast, because it's taping," she said. "His presence would become a distraction."
Willard, 78, was arrested Wednesday after police claimed they found the actor in a Hollywood movie theater with his penis exposed and in his hand. He was released a short time later. Willard has denied any wrongdoing. "With all due respect to the individual officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law," his attorney, Paul Takajian, told TMZ. "We will be working vigorously to clear his name in this matter."
Mark Walberg, who hosts Antiques Roadshow, will re-voice the episodes that Willard had already taped, and the show will air Monday as usual.