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ABC pulls Fred Willard improv show after arrest

Fred Willard’s improv series is a wipeout with ABC.

The network is pulling the last two original episodes of Trust Us With Your Life, a move that comes two weeks after Willard’s lewd conduct arrest at an adult movie theater.

Reruns of ABC’s Wipeout will replace the Tuesday show hosted by Willard. The 72-year-old actor already had lost his job as narrator of a new PBS series, Market Warriors.

In an appearance last week on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show, Willard said he was embarrassed by his July 18 arrest but insisted he had done nothing wrong.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office determined that Willard’s case was eligible for a diversion program that will keep him from being formally charged with lewd conduct if he completes the required courses.

Related:
Fred Willard explains himself on ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon': ‘I did nothing wrong’
Fred Willard dropped from ‘Market Warriors’ following arrest
Fred Willard breaks silence: ‘Wait til u hear my version; much more PG’

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.

Read more:
Ken Tucker: Shame on you, PBS, for firing Fred Willard #FreeFred
Fred Willard dropped from ‘Market Warriors’ following arrest

Fred Willard dropped from 'Market Warriors' following arrest

Fred Willard will no longer be part of Market Warriors following his arrest on suspicion of a lewd public act Wednesday night, the producers confirmed Thursday. In an official statement dictated to EW, Boston public television station WGBH said:

“Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the Market Warriors series.”

All previous and un-aired episodes featuring Willard’s narration will now be redubbed by Antiques Roadshow host Mark L. Walberg.

Willard, 72, is best known for his deadpan delivery in numerous Christopher Guest comedies including Best in Show and for his Emmy nominated appearances on TV’s Modern Family.

Related:
Fred Willard arrested at adult movie theater
Fred Willard holds court on ‘Trust Us With Your Life’

Fred Willard holds court in 'Trust Us With Your Life'

trust-us-with-your-life-fred-willard-2

Fred Willard is the comedic acting equivalent of sprinkles. He simply makes things that are already good even better. His bloviating, bench-pressing dog-show TV commentator in Christopher Guest’s Best in Show might be his most indelible character, but the four-time Emmy nominee has injected his unique brand of humor into episodes of some of the greatest sitcoms of the last 40 years, from Get Smart to Roseanne to Modern Family. (Of course he was Phil Dunphy’s dad.)

Tonight, the man who once supervised Ron Burgundy’s Channel 4 News team will preside over another three-ring circus as the host of ABC’s Trust Us With Your Life. Part talk-show and part Who’s Line is it Anyway?, Trust invites celebrities like David Hasselhoff, Ricky Gervais, and Serena Williams to reveal memorable or potentially embarrassing moments of their lives. As host, Willard waits for a juicy anecdote, and then tasks Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, and a team of improv experts to re-enact it. “These guys jump up, take just one thing from the actor’s life and in one minute — bang, bang, bang — just do impressions, do voices,” says Willard. “Improv has just evolved into such a sharp point now. It was just phenomenal.”

Willard doesn’t himself join the improv fun; he’s too invested in playing Merv Griffin. “I’m the one who seems to be very smart,” jokes Willard, who admits that he got so fascinated by his guests’ responses that he sometimes forget to pivot to the improv games. But just because he stayed seated doesn’t mean his guests had to. “Ricky Gervais was the one performer you almost had to restrain from getting up on to the stage,” says Willard. “In fact, I think he did jump on to the stage at one point. He kept saying, ‘I can’t believe this. I’ve never done a show like this. Everything I do has to be planned.’ So they actually brought him up and put him into one of the improvs. He was like a dog on a leash who sees a piece of meat.”

Trust Us With Your Life premieres tonight with two back-to-back episodes beginning at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Serena Williams and Jack & Kelly Osbourne are the first night’s guests. Check out a surreal sketch where the improv actors are comically handicapped in their performances by lying on the floor opposite a camera that makes them seem upright. (It makes sense when you see it.) READ FULL STORY

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