Entries in PBS (6)


PBS Says It Had to Move 'Fast' After Fred Willard Arrest

Brian To/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- The head of PBS said the network had to make a quick decision about removing Fred Willard as the narrator of its Market Warriors series following his arrest for alleged lewd conduct.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association’s summer season press tour in Los Angeles on Saturday, PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said, “We actually needed to move fast because we’re taping now.  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.”

PBS has tapped Antiques Roadshow host Mark Wahlberg to re-narrate the Market Warriors episodes Willard had already taped.  Wahlberg's new voiceover will begin with the second episode of Market Warriors, which airs Monday.

On Friday, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced that Willard will not be facing jail time in connection with his arrest on lewd conduct charges last Wednesday at the Tiki Theater in L.A.

Spokesman Frank Mateljan said Willard is eligible to enroll in a “pre-filing diversion program” in lieu of a criminal filing. 

Mateljan told reporters, “I want to stress that this was and is a filable case, and should the defendant choose not to enroll or not complete the program, we have the option of filing criminal charges within a year.”

Mateljan said if the comic actor completes the diversion program, the District Attorney “will consider the matter closed.”

The office also revealed on Friday that Willard had been arrested in 1990 on lewd conduct charges, but it did not provide details about the case or the manner in which it was disposed.

Willard’s attorney on Thursday insisted that his client did nothing wrong at the Tiki Theater.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fred Willard Dropped from PBS Show After Arrest

Brian To/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor Fred Willard has been dropped from the PBS show Market Warriors after his arrest in Hollywood Wednesday evening.  Los Angeles police said they picked him up at an adult theater, performing what was described as a lewd act.

“Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately Fred Willard will no longer be involved with the Market Warriors series,” said Jeanne Hopkins of WGBH, the PBS station that produces the show, in a statement to ABC News.

Mark Walberg, who hosts Antiques Roadshow, will be now be the voice on Willard’s episodes, Hopkins said.

The decision to drop Willard came less than a day after the arrest. Willard has not been tried or convicted of an offense.

“It’s something we felt was important to decide, and given the trust of our audiences, we wanted to move forward,” Hopkins said.

Hollywood vice officers were conducting a routine inspection at an adult theater shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday when they found the Anchorman star engaged in a lewd act, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Willard was arrested and taken to Hollywood station where he was booked and released.

“With all due respect to the individual officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law.  We will be working vigorously to clear his name in this matter,” Willard’s lawyer, Paul Takakjian, said in a statement to ABC News.

Willard is known for his role as the announcer in the film Best in Show.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nicole Kidman, Robin Williams & More to Appear on 'Sesame Street'

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Nicole Kidman, Seth Rogen, and Emma Stone are among the many celebrities who will drop by Sesame Street during the upcoming 42nd season of the PBS children's series. reports a total of nearly 40 stars have been lined up to make appearances on Sesame Street this year, including actors like Kidman, Rogen, Stone, Mila Kunis, Amy Adams, Robin Williams, late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, George Lopez and Craig Ferguson, musicians Elvis Costello, Bruno Mars and Jay Sean, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

The new season of Sesame Street will also feature parodies of Glee and the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

PBS will begin airing the new episodes on Sept. 26.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jim Lehrer to Leave PBS NewsHour

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jim Lehrer, the veteran news anchor of PBS NewsHour, is ending his 36-year run at the daily public television news broadcast.

“I have been laboring in the glories of daily journalism for 52 years...36 of them here at the NewsHour and its earlier incarnations...and there comes a time to step aside from the daily process, and that time has arrived,” Lehrer said in a statement.

In a statement, PBS says Lehrer will continue to make appearances on the program, though his role will be reduced. He will also remain involved in the editorial direction of the show.

Lehrer’s departure is the latest move in what PBS called the “evolution” of its NewsHour broadcast, “a process that began in December 2009 with the successful transition from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to the PBS NEWSHOUR.”

The PBS Newshour began in 1975 as The Robert MacNeil Report and transitioned over the years to a team that, until now, featured Lehrer along with correspondents Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown, Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner.

Lehrer will step aside effective June 6.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John Lennon Documentary 'LennoNYC' Premieres Monday on PBS 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The John Lennon documentary LennoNYC, which focuses on Lennon's life in New York City after The Beatles, premieres Monday night at 9:00 ET on PBS.

The film features never before seen footage of Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, as well as Lennon's time in recording studios working on music, and the couple strolling through New York.  It also features footage of Lennon taking care of his son, Sean.

Ono said at a press conference that Lennon "loved New York so much he said 'I wish I was born here.'"  She also said that Lennon would have approved the release of LennoNYC because he "would have wanted the world to see" his life outside of being a musician.  Ono said that John's time in the city was "the part of his life that he really loved," and the documentary will provide fans a glimpse "of things that people didn't know" about him.

After LennoNYC premieres, it will repeat throughout December on PBS.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


John Lennon DVD Release Pushed Back

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The DVD release of the John Lennon documentary LennoNYC, which was originally scheduled to be released Nov. 23, has been pushed back to Dec. 7.

The documentary, which will air as part of the PBS series American Masters on Nov. 22, chronicles Lennon's life in New York City and his musical career after The Beatles.

In addition to rare footage and interviews with Lennon and Yoko Ono, some of Lennon's greatest hits, including "Imagine," are featured in the film.

The DVD will retail for $24.95.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio