Q: Why did "Antiques Roadshow" drop Mark L. Walberg?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

He's still there, he's just in the background. It was part of an overhaul the show did for the new season, in part to attract and secure what one producer called its "next generation of viewers."

When the show premiered its 20th season earlier this year, Walberg's face was absent. However, his voice was not. Though he used to serve as the on-air host of the show, since way back in 2002, he now only provides voiceovers at the beginning of each episode.

The reason his role was cut back had nothing to do with him, said executive producer Marsha Bemko, but rather with what they were having him do.

The overhaul included dropping the segments that took place away from the antiques show set, when the show would come to the people instead of the other way around. These "field pieces" weren't popular with the audience, Bemko said in an interview with AVClub.com.

"Although there are some people who like those field segments, we know that, for the most part, our audience would rather see more appraisals. We've made an effort to satisfy that hunger."

That is to say that Walberg's segments were dropped to give the viewer more appraisals per hour -- a refocus on the show's core business, in a sense.

But Bemko insisted that there were no plans to further cut Walberg out.

"We've kept Mark as our host. ... He's still on our title sequence credits. He's still very much associated with the show. But he's not on set anymore."

It should be noted that we're talking about the U.S. version of the show. It's a PBS institution -- it has frequently been the network's top-rated show since its premiere in 1997. However, it's a youngster compared to the original, British "Antiques Roadshow," which premiered in 1979 and is now airing its 38th season.

Walberg is himself something of a TV mainstay, having hosted dozens of reality shows, interview shows and specials over the years, including Fox's "The Moment of Truth" and the somewhat notorious "Temptation Island."


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