ABC pulls 'Trust Us With Your Life' after Fred Willard arrest, Olympics
The remaining two episodes of the ABC improv comedy series "Trust Us With Your Life" will not air, the network has confirmed, two weeks after show host Fred Willard was arrested on suspicion of carrying out a lewd act in public at an adult movie theater.
The news also comes days after the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The games are broadcast in the United States on rival network NBC.
"ABC will not be airing the last 2 #TrustUswithYourLife," Tweeted one of the cast members of "Trust Us With Your Life," former "Let's Make A Deal" announcer and comedian Jonathan Mangum. "Going against the Olympics is ratings suicide. Hopefully, theyll have us back soon. (sic)"
Willard, a 72-year-old comedy actor known for his roles in movies such as "Anchorman" and "Best In Show," recently joked about the July 18 incident on the NBC late-night talk show "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" last week and called the ordeal "very embarrassing." He had lost a job after his arrest - hours after posting $500 bail, the channel PBS, which is partially funded by taxpayer dollars, promptly dropped him as the host and narrator of its show "Market Warriors".
At the time, ABC had said it would continue to air the remaining episodes of "Trust Us With Your Life," which have already been filmed. The network confirmed on Tuesday that the two remaining shows have been pulled from the schedule. No reason was given. A rerun of ABC's popular obstacle course competition series "Wipeout" is set to air in its 9 p.m. ET time slot instead.
A statement posted on the Facebook page for "Trust Us With Your Life" read: "I bring unfortunate tidings. ABC has pulled the last two episodes of 'Trust Us With Your Life' from the schedule due to ratings and also due to competing for ratings with the summer Olympics. It is unknown at this time if the last two episodes will air at a later time." ABC had no immediate comment about this.
The 2012 Summer Olympics kicked off on Friday, July 27. NBC's evening broadcast of the games on Monday won its time slot with 31.4 million viewers and a 10.5 rating among viewers between ages 18 and 49, while ABC came in second with reality show "Bachelor Pad," which was watched by about 3.48 million viewers and earned a 1.1 rating.
"Trust Us With Your Life" had premiered on July 10 and also featured "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" alums Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie as well as guest stars such as "The Brady Bunch" actress Florence Henderson and talk show host Jerry Springer.
On Tuesday, July 25, the series earned a 0.6 rating among viewers between ages 18 and 49 and was watched by approximately 1.87 million viewers, ranking third in its time slot behind FOX's "Masterchef," which ranked first, and CBS' rerun of "NCIS: Los Angeles."
As for Willard - he will likely be able to avoid jail time. L.A. City Attorney's Office spokesman Frank Mateljan confirmed to OnTheRedCarpet.com on July 20 that the office received the file from the LAPD detailing this case and determined that Willard was eligible to enroll in a "pre-filing diversion program." If the actor completes the program, his case will be considered closed.
Willard must complete the program within a year or the office can choose to file charges against him. The program is administered by an outside vender and costs $380. It consists of a two to three-week course that discusses decision making, law and other topics.
According to Mateljan, the program is often offered to people in lieu of criminal prosecution if the defendant has no prior criminal history within the past 10 years. Mateljan said Willard was arrested in 1990 for alleged lewd conduct and later pleaded to disturbing the peace. The case was then dropped.
Mateljan offered no further details on the matter and said that Willard's prior arrest did not affect the L.A. City Attorney's office's decision regarding his current charge, which is a misdemeanor.
(Pictured L-R: Craig Cackowski, Jonathan Magnum, Colin Mochrie, Florence Henderson, Wayne Brady and Fred Willard appear in a promotional photo for the ABC improv comedy series 'Trust Us With Your Life.' Henderson appeared in an episode that aired on July 24, 2012.)