It hasn't been a good week for prolific comic actor Fred Willard. Over his 40 year career, Willard has played hilarious parts in such films as Best In Show, Anchorman, and a Mighty Wind, and TV shows such as Roseanne, Modern Family, and Married With Children. Unfortunately for Fred, the circumstances he found himself in earlier this week are no laughing matter.
Willard was literally caught with his pants down at an "adult" movie theater, in a manner that brings back memories of Paul Reubens' arrest in the early 90's. He was then taken into police custody, due to his alleged committing of a "lewd act" in a public place. Or I guess technically, a private business that happens to be open to the public.
It got even worse for Willard the following day, as PBS fired him from his role as narrator of the Antiques Roadshow spin-off Market Warriors. When asked for comment, PBS executives stated that they wanted to avoid any unnecessary "distractions" the the production. Willard also currently hosts the improv comedy/celebrity chat show Trust Us With Your Life on ABC, but there is no danger of him being fired there, as the first season has already completed filming. ABC has yet to comment on whether he would be brought back to host should a second season be picked up.
Willard did receive some good news when he appeared in court on Friday, as the prosecutor in the case has agreed not to press criminal charges, provided the actor pays for and completes a pre-filing diversionary program. So, at least Ron Burgundy's former boss doesn't have to face jail time. Although, I'd think Ron would advise that he lay low for awhile.
Was PBS right to fire Fred Willard? Should ABC follow their lead?
Sources: EW.com and The LA Times