DENNIS ODA / firstname.lastname@example.org
Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality, left, joined Dog and Beth Chapman and their children, Leland, Lyssa and Duane Lee Chapman, yesterday to announce that "Dog the Bounty Hunter" would be back on the air in June.
A&E lets ‘Dog’ out of the pound
With blessings from A&E Network executives, the spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality and thousands of fans who inundated A&E with supportive mail, Duane "Dog" Chapman will return to television next month.
"Dog the Bounty Hunter" reruns will air on Wednesday nights beginning June 25. Twenty-six new episodes begin airing July 16, signifying a new beginning for everyone involved.
"Dog is all about second chances, and we think he deserves a second chance," said Guy Slattery, senior vice president of marketing for A&E Network. "He realized straight away that he made a mistake, and he's gone a long way to make amends."
A&E suspended production of the show last October after Dog's son, Tucker Chapman, recorded a private conversation and sold it to the National Enquirer. In the heated exchange, Dog used the N-word several times. Decisions to resurrect the show emerged from Chapman's efforts to take responsibility and change his behavior, overwhelming fan support and the unspoken dismay some network executives felt in watching a career disintegrate because of a personal conversation.
"We realize that if you were to take our private conversations with family members in crisis, when we are passionately trying to break them out of crisis, and take those words out of context and make them public, we would all have a heck of a lot to answer for, including myself," said Niger Innis, spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality.
Even so, "That word will never be used in my household or by me again," Chapman said. "There are words in society that hurt people's feelings, and I'm not about hurting people's feelings."
Wearing a gold necklace emblazoned with the words "Property of Dog," and pink handcuffs hanging out the back of her black skirt, Beth Chapman told critics that her husband has changed 6,000 lives with his bounty hunting. "Should all of those things be washed away because he uses an inappropriate word?" she asked. "You have to give people second chances, or you need to build more prisons."
Tucker Chapman might get his second chance eventually, but now he is in prison for violating parole. This, said Beth, was the heart of the infamous phone call. "Being a parent is an incredible responsibility, and you make mistakes. You continue to change your approach until you find something that strikes a chord. And I feel that what Dog did was completely misunderstood."
What would the network do should anything like this occur again? "I don't think we believe in third or fourth chances," said A&E's Slattery, "but I don't think that's likely to happen."