Following his firing from PBS, Fred Willard's career suffered another blow when ABC pulled "Trust Us With Your Life" from its Tuesday night lineup. The sudden schedule change followed Willard's well-publicized arrest for alleged lewd conduct at the Tiki Theater, an adult theater in Hollywood. Reruns of "Wipeout" replaced the remaining unaired episodes of the improv comedy series.
Cast's ill-timed promotion efforts
After Mark L. Walberg abruptly replaced Willard as narrator on PBS's new antique-picking show "Market Warriors," Willard focused on "Trust Us With Your Life." The 72-year-old actor wryly Tweeted, "I was not fired from TUWYL so B sure 2 watch Trust Us Wtih(sic) your life Tues, ABC 9."
Two days later, he took charge of the arrest scandal during a humble, humorous appearance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." He maintained his innocence and promoted "Trust Us With Your Life," before ABC announced the last-minute schedule change.
Co-stars Wayne Brady and Jonathan Mangum promoted the bumped episodes only a day before the scheduled finale. The duo appeared on "The Talk" and performed an improv scene with the studio audience.
"Trust With Your Life" ratings struggle
Pulling the final two episodes seems like a hasty reaction, but it is hard to tell if the move was a desperate ploy to bolster ratings or more fallout from Willard's lewd conduct arrest. The show struggled in the ratings and aired opposite summer favorites like "MasterChef" and "America's Got Talent." Sandwiched between "Last Man Standing," which had 2.51 million viewers, and "NY Med" with 4.39 million viewers, it was an obvious straggler during its final night. Back-to-back episodes of "Trust Us With Your Life" began with 1.92 million viewers and dropped to 1.83 million during the second episode.
Naturally, NBC's Olympic coverage dominated the following Tuesday's ratings with 38.720 million viewers, but the rerun of "Wipeout" still managed to reach 2.3 million viewers. The numbers for "Trust Us With Your Life" look weak by comparison, but the show had the potential to do well on that date. The Olympics and "Masterchef" rerun left a niche audience available and post-arrest publicity blitz created buzz for the new show.
The show's future
The cast's talk show appearances heavily promoted an unaired episodes that featured David Hasselhoff. Yanking it at the last minute was a rash move that could alienate fans already frustrated by fickle networks.
It is unclear if ABC will cancel "Trust Us With Your Life" or give it another chance. However, improv performer Brady remained hopeful. He attempted to settle the negative buzz, Tweeting, "TUWYL has NOT been canceled. It was taken off the schedule, There is still a chance ABC will put it back on."
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