(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.
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