Polo’s John Walsh back on the air

John Walsh and ‘America’s Most Wanted’ are moving to
Lifetime after 2 decades on Fox

Polo’s John Walsh back on the air

Just weeks after Fox dropped
“America’s Most Wanted” after more than two decades, its creator-host, John
Walsh, has a new home for the show on the Lifetime network.

The deal, announced jointly on
Tuesday by Walsh and Lifetime, will return to the air Walsh’s weekly criminal
roundup, which since 1988 has helped bring almost 1,200 fugitives to justice.

The series will return for its 25th
season later this year.

“’America’s Most Wanted’ is a
seminal program that provides a very valuable service to both viewers and law
enforcement agencies,” said Lifetime president Nancy Dubuc. “For more than two
decades John Walsh has been leading the fight against crime and it’s an honor
to partner with him on bringing back this important show.”

“We’ve often been called the court
of last resort,” Walsh said. “Now we are back in the game and ready to saddle
up for another season to get justice for victims and put dangerous criminals
behind bars.”

In May, Fox announced it was axing
“AMW,” citing high production costs. At the time the network said it would
present four quarterly specials in the coming season. The first of those
specials will air in October, and Fox will follow it with the remaining three,
Walsh said.

But Fox’s final weekly “AMW” was
telecast in June.

“We kept the hotline and website up,
and we’ve caught four guys,” Walsh said. “The viewers didn’t give up on us.”

Since then, Walsh had been in talks
to find a new network. The deal with Lifetime was completed Tuesday afternoon,
he said.

It was in 1981 that Walsh launched
his crime-busting crusade in the aftermath of the abduction and murder of his
6-year-old son Adam. He became an outspoken advocate for tougher laws against
sex offenders, more cooperation among law enforcement agencies, and citizen
involvement in flushing out fugitives.

He was a former hotel executive with
no TV experience, but his TV show premiered in April 1988 on the fledgling Fox
network and, little more than a year later, it was the first-ever Fox program
to rank first in viewership in its time slot. It remained a fixture on the
network after that, and during the 2010-11 season, was seen by an audience
averaging 5 million viewers.

In a happy coincidence, on Saturday,
Walsh will get a special Emmy Award saluting his show. The Academy of
Television Arts & Sciences will give Walsh its Governors Award at the
Creative Arts Emmys ceremony in Los Angeles. The honor goes to a person or
organization that makes a substantial impact or demonstrates an extraordinary
use of television.