VH1 will air 'Armed & Famous'
January 30, 2007
VH1 will air 'Armed & Famous'
By GAIL KOCH Muncie Star Press
MUNCIE -- 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, 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" Acuņa 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."
"The premiere performed well, but going up against American Idol just proved to be too tall a task for the program."
Ratings for the show's fourth episode, which aired Wednesday, showed that Armed & Famous had slipped from third to fourth in primetime viewership for the 8 p.m. time slot. With a two-hour episode of American Idol, FOX garnered a higher rating share for the night than the four other broadcast networks combined.
Ender said CBS has not ruled out the possibility of running the three unaired episodes of the show on the network at a later date. And he said producers who came to Muncie to work on the series, "loved dealing with the city."
"I can't tell you how much praise they showered on the city of Muncie, especially for its police department."
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.
VH1 officials said there is no way of knowing yet whether the network would pick up a new season of Armed & Famous. "It's just too soon to tell something like that," the spokesman said.