‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ is no more. The show was shelved by the A&E network on Friday, which is something I feared would happen when I wrote this post on Thursday. The network “stopped short of saying” they’d cancelled the show, although I’ll tell you in a few minutes what I’d expect to happen now.  (At least I still have some of the current episodes on my TIVO.)

Let me break this down for you, step by step, so you know exactly what to believe. According to Dog’s lawyer Brook Hart and the evidence on the tape itself:

1) Dog, “as a man who grew up in the South, is someone who went to prison and is a man of the street, I think the N-word is something he hasn’t completely avoided [using]…in an endearing way or a street way.” That much is obvious even from the tape recording, in which Dog says, “It’s not ’cause they’re black, none of that, it’s because we use the word ‘nigger’ – we don’t mean ‘You fucking scumbag nigger without a soul’ – we don’t mean that shit…” and it seems obvious that he doesn’t. Is the ‘N-word’ always used as a sentiment of hate? Of course not: many black people themselves use the word every day in the streets of America. Dog admits to using the term, but that certainly doesn’t qualify him as a racist by any means, and the very tape intended to indict him is a recording of Dog himself, qualifying the way he means the term.

2) Dog was aware that his distant son Tucker wished to come and work for his father in the family business, but was concerned about things he’d heard about Tucker’s girlfriend: “Hart said [Dog] had received information that Tucker’s girlfriend had recording equipment and planned to tape the bounty hunter using the N-word.”

3) It would seem that Dog’s instinct on this was correct, since it was his own son Tucker who recorded the conversation and threw his own father under the bus by selling it to the National Enquirer. Shame on him. “[Brook Hart] reiterated [Dog’s] statement that it wasn’t Shinnery’s race but his own questions about her character that set him off. ‘He was only trying to tell [Tucker], ‘Don’t do this recording to shake me down,’ ‘ said Hart.” Little did he know that Tucker was doing so at that very minute. Scumbag.

4) Once A&E, the network responsible for ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’, heard about the tape, they started getting calls from their advertisers, including Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, who got very nervous and wanted to pull their ads. A&E also has a reputation to uphold of course, and in this emotional, politically-correct, post-reason age, responded by pulling the show. As the Sydney Morning Herald reported today, “In Australia your TV show gets cancelled because of low ratings. In the US your show gets cancelled because you use inappropriate language in a phone conversation with your son, who records you and sells the tape to The National Enquirer.”

5) Dog, who must be beyond angry this weekend, immediately began trying to save his career with the round of apologies that has become the normal way for “shamed celebrities” in America to respond in public, saying: “I did not mean to add yet another slap in the face to an entire race of people who have brought so many gifts to this world. I am ashamed of myself and I pledge to do whatever I can to repair this damage I have caused.”

And yet his expectation of privacy could have only been greater if he’d been having the conversation underneath the sheets with his wife Beth: he was on the phone with a family member, and now is apologising to “an entire race of people” because of something he said in that context? This is truly, truly bizarre. Any court would throw it out instantly; unfortunately the great court of political correctness is not so logical.

So here’s what I believe is likely to happen now. We use the precedent of Don Imus, the radio talk show host whose show was cancelled back in April after he used the words “nappy-headed hos” to describe the girls of the Rutgers basketball team. Imus was fired from both his radio show and his MSNBC simulcast, and subsequently disappeared after his round of apologies and his fateful meeting with the hypocritical asshole Al Sharpton, and went into Broadcasting Purgatory for his wrongdoings. Yet, just over six months later, on Friday last week, the day A&E shelved Dog the Bounty Hunter, Don Imus signed a deal with WABC radio in New York to return to the airwaves with his original team and a bunch of happy executives.

You see, this really isn’t about burying these people forever. Despite what people in the public eye say after one of these incidents, they don’t think Dog did anything wrong. They’re saving their own bacon by saying that it’s a disgrace. Just like Dog is saving himself by being ‘remorseful’. This will be the last word from A&E on the subject for at least 6 months. After that time, they’ll begin production on his show again, and in less than a year ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ will be back for the next series, accompanied by a flurry of publicity and acknowledgments by Dog in interviews of his wrongdoing and his putting of the incident behind him. Such is the cycle of the race-police merry-go-round in 21st century America.

But one thing’s for sure: we haven’t seen the last of the Dog.