Mark Wahlberg Will Replace Fred Willard on PBS

“Antiques Roadshow” host Mark Wahlberg will takeover the hosting duties of its spinoff show “Market Warriors,” which debuted Monday with a host that lasted one episode – Fred Willard.

The 72 year old comedian was yanked from the show hours after an arrest on suspicion of committing a lewd act at a Los Angeles adult theater Wednesday night.

PBS president Paula Kerger, who called it “the unfortunate circumstances with Fred this week” said Saturday the network had to work quickly to get a replacement because they were in production for the second episode which is running Monday.

“Our concern really is that his circumstance would become a distraction to the series, which we’re hoping will have an ongoing presence on public television,” Kerger told reporters on the opening morning of the two week TV Critics Association press tour.

PBS was criticized for making the move so soon Thursday. “Shame on you PBS for firing Fred Willard,” Ken Tucker of Enertainment Weekly wrote.

Willard maintained through a lawyer that he did nothing wrong.

The Los Angeles City Attorney said Friday Willard will be allowed to enroll in a counseling class that will keep him from being formally charged.

Willard, featured in movies like “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman,” who earned Emmy nominations for guest roles in “Modern Family” and “Everyone Loves Raymond,” continues to be host of a second primetime nonscripted show, “Trust Us With Your Life” on ABC, an improv comedy show.

Kerger said “Market Warriors,” a show that is more akin to cable shows like “Storage Wars” and “American Pickers” is a natural offshoot of “Antiques Roadshow,” for which Wahlberg will serve as a more natural bridge between the Monday night shows.

Despite it and the upcoming “Broadway or Bust,” documenting a high school musical theater competition in New York, Kerger said “I’m not looking to create reality programming in public broadcasting. What I think we’ve tried to do with the ‘Market Warriors’ is to create something that is in response to what our viewers asked for, and I think ‘Broadway or Bust’ is just a great way to actually showcase the talent of young people.”

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