Network removes its highest-rated show
A&E has dropped reruns of its highest-rated series, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” from its primetime schedule “for the foreseeable future.”
Move follows the cabler’s Thursday announcement that it would suspend production of the series, which was about to begin taping its fifth season.
Duane “Dog” Chapman has become toxic because of a racist rant about his son’s girlfriend that was captured in two phone calls obtained and published earlier this week by the National Enquirer.
Chapman apologized in a statement, but advertisers began backing out of the series, leading A&E to replace Saturday’s special 7-11 p.m. “Dog” marathon with “Dallas SWAT” and “The First 48.” For the time being, reruns of “CSI: Miami” will go into the regular “Dog” time period of Tuesday from 8 to 10 p.m.
In its statement announcing the removal of “Dog” from the schedule, A&E said, “We hope that Mr. Chapman continues the healing process that he has begun.” Chapman said he would meet with his “spiritual adviser,” the Rev. Tim Storey, and then seek out “black leaders” to ask for forgiveness.
A&E hopes that initiatives like these orchestrated by Chapman will over time cause people to forget the racially charged incident and allow the network to put his show back on the air.
“Dog” may be A&E’s most profitable series, averaging in its original runs more than 2 million viewers, 57% of whom are adults 18- 49.