PBS: Fred Willard Arrest 'A Distraction'by: Posted:
"Anchorman" star Fred Willard's lewd conduct arrest this past week forced PBS's hand in his quick firing, PBS President Paula Kerger said Saturday.
Willard was to narrate PBS's debuting "Antique Roadshow" companion series "Market Warriors," but Kerger claimed that Willard's arrest, penis in hand at a Hollywood adult movie theater, made for "unfortunate circumstances." The publicly funded network fired Willard within 24 hours, as Republicans in Congress urged a funding cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the source of 15 percent of PBS funds, The Huffington Post reported Saturday.
The narration had already been provided for the first "Market Warriors" episode when Willard was let go Thursday, but "Antique Roadshow" narrator Mark Wahlberg stepped in to provide narration from the second episode onward. Willard was not seen on camera in his one and only episode, produced by Boston station WGBH.
As it happens, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office on Friday deemed Willard's case eligible for a diverstion program that lets him off with a $380 fine and without formal charges, under the condition he meet all program stipulations.
The 72-year-old actor, also known for portraying the announcer in Christopher Guest's "Best In Show," reiterated in a video posted by TMZ that his arrest was a misunderstanding, with no wrongdoing basis.