Two weeks after its return, "American Idol" has already claimed its first victims. CBS has pulled comedy-reality skein "Armed and Famous" from its schedule, effective immediately. "Armed" started with solid numbers when it premiered three weeks ago in the 8 p.m. Wednesday slot, but the "Idol" tsunami swept away a big chunk of its audience. Several unaired episodes remain and are expected to surface over the summer. CBS has slated a "CSI: NY" repeat in the slot this week, with "Criminal Minds" pinch hitting the next week. "Jericho" returns Feb. 14 with a recap episode.
Fans of Armed & Famous can get their fix of the celebrity reality show when an unaired episode of the Muncie-based series airs this Saturday on cable network VH1. The fifth episode of the series will air at 9 p.m. (Comcast Channel 36), with the four previously aired episodes preceding it as part of a five-hour, Armed & Famous marathon. Producers had previously said seven episodes of the series were scheduled to be made. A VH1 spokesman told The Star Press on Monday, "If the producers deliver to us the sixth and seventh episodes of the show, then we will air them. As of now, it's unclear whether they are finishing them or not." VH1 will again run the first five episodes beginning at noon Wednesday, Feb. 7. A phone call to Armed & Famous producer Tom Forman was not returned Monday. Chris Ender, senior vice president of communications for CBS, said Tuesday that the network had not technically canceled the show, which stars celebrities Erik Estrada, Trish Stratus, La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne and Jason "Wee Man" Acuña becoming cops with the Muncie Police Department. "The official term is 'hiatus,'" Ender said, "which is a fancy, Hollywood phrase for a show that's been pulled from the schedule and does not yet have a planned return date." Ender said CBS's decision to place Armed & Famous on hiatus "simply came down to the ratings." On Monday, members of the city's police force said they were disappointed to hear of initial reports CBS had canceled Armed & Famous. "I can't say I was completely surprised, given what it was going up against," Police Chief Joe Winkle said, referring to its American Idol competition. "But the fact they're saying it's canceled doesn't change why we did it, or the fact that many of us enjoyed being a part of this show." Winkle said he'd been happy with the way the MPD was portrayed in episodes of the series thus far. "I think it opened some people's eyes to what we do each night," he said, noting that the police department takes about 4,500 to 5,000 calls per month. Winkle said he also did not believe that the series' getting pulled would result in CBS retracting its gift of three Hummers for the police force. "That'd kind of be like them taking back a Christmas present, now wouldn't it?" he joked. Sgt. Rick Eber, who helped with training the celebrity officers, said his experience on national television had yet to sink in. "I'm getting calls from family and friends in Texas and Florida, people I haven't talked to in years who've seen me on the show," he noted.
Michael Jackson’s sister LaToya had a life-changing experience while shooting new reality TV show "Armed & Famous" last month – she had to deliver a baby. The singer was training as a reserve police officer in Muncie, Indiana, as part of the new show, when she came to the aid of stranded young mother-to-be on December 16. She says, "I helped deliver a baby girl on the freeway. I lifted the woman out of the car and helped take her to a midwife. It changed my life." Jackson is one of five celebrities training as police officers in the new show, which debuts in America on January 10. The other wannabe cops include Jack Osbourne and star Erik Estrada.
Former "CHiPs" star Erik Estrada got into an expletive-laced shouting match with a man who called him Emilio Estevez amid the filming of a reality television series. Estrada, who was sworn in as a reserve officer last month for CBS Corp.’s "Armed & Famous" show, was in an ambulance with Randall R. Sims, 53, when the exchange unfolded Wednesday night. The 57-year-old actor entered the ambulance after being asked to remove handcuffs from Sims, who had been stabbed in the leg during a domestic dispute. After addressing Estrada as Estevez, another Hollywood actor, Sims said he didn’t want to appear on the show, which also stars La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna and Trish Stratus. The confrontation erupted after Sims, who led a successful push in 2004 to rename a Muncie street in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., told Estrada he knew nothing about King and had only been in Muncie "for two days," The Star Press reported Friday. Estrada told Sims he’d been in town for six weeks and said he grew up in Spanish Harlem — a rough Manhattan neighborhood King mentioned in his landmark 1967 speech calling for an end to the Vietnam War. An exchange of obscenities followed before Estrada left the ambulance. Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle told The Associated Press on Friday that he hadn’t seen footage of the confrontation, but had spoken with Estrada. "We talked about it last night with him, the fact that that’s something we encounter all the time, that you have to get a little thicker skin," Winkle said. "With any new officer we would tell them, `Hey, that’s not how we conduct ourselves, don’t get caught up in the moment, we’re the ones who are professionals.’ That’s what we did with Erik and I think he truly understood that." "Armed and Famous" premieres January 10 on CBS.
Ozzy Osbourne has been worrying about his son, Jack, who is filming a new police reality TV show. The rocker was terrified Jack might get shot when he revealed he was venturing out on a night shift. Ozzy said: "Jack’s doing a new show where he’s working at a police academy. I spoke to him recently just as he was putting on a bullet-proof vest for his night shift. "I told him if they start shooting he should hide behind the biggest guy and duck." Ozzy also revealed that while children Jack and Kelly are always welcome to come and visit since they left home, Kelly is not so keen to invite Ozzy over to her house. Ozzy said: "I like it there. And then she told me not to get too comfortable because I wouldn’t be invited again.
With all the scrutiny the Armed & Famous celebs have been under in this town, it took a reader like Susan Burke to remind us that maybe these Hollywood types have hearts after all. Burke, 48, is one of the law breakers — "I blew through a stop sign" — who had a run-in with a celebrity cop since they’ve been in town. Her law enforcer? Erik Estrada. "When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t believe who was coming toward me. I about hit the floor," said Burke, a long-time fan of Estrada’s CHIPS. Burke said Estrada was incredibly kind and, though she signed a waiver (and got his autograph), didn’t get a ticket. Since being pulled over, Burke’s spoken to a cop who told her some of the great things the celebs have done for Muncie since coming to town — including Erik buying a bed and recliner for a family in need and Trish (Stratus) signing autographs at a local fire station. "You hear all the negative stuff about these guys, but then, come to find out, they’re doing good for this community too," she explained. "And I really feel like what they’re doing, they’re doing from the heart." That’s food for thought for those of you who are Armed & Famous grinches this holiday season.
The show has gotten a lot of criticism because the producers have been paying people that are busted to be on the show, so it is nice to see that they are something positive in the town and were not asking for press by doing so! BTW the show premieres on CBS on January 10th and I can’t wait!!!