PBS Boss Defends Firing Willard, Says Arrest Would Be 'Distraction' For Market Warriors

PBS on Saturday defended its decision to fire Fred Willard as host and narrator of Market Warriors following his arrest on Wednesday evening on suspicion of committing a lewd act in public.

President and CEO Paula Kerger told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s annual summer press tour on Sunday that there was “concern [that his] circumstance would become a distraction for the series.”

On Thursday, Jeanne Hopkins — president of PBS station WGBH, which produces the program — said in a statement, “Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately Fred Willard will no longer be involved with the Market Warriors series. It’s something we felt was important to decide, and given the trust of our audiences, we wanted to move forward.”

Antiques Roadshow host Mark Walberg was tapped to replace Willard.