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America’s Most Wanted has had a tumultuous history over the past several years. John Walsh’s long-running series was knocked off of its veteran perch in 2011 after Fox cancelled the series after 23 years. However, there was a brief light at the end of the tunnel when Lifetime opted to pick up the series. While the network did initially sign on for plenty of episodes of the hit series, now, Lifetime has given America’s Most Wanted the boot, as well.
Lifetime’s decision should really be no surprise for anyone, John Walsh included. The last time America’s Most Wanted actually aired a new episode was more than 5 months ago (on October 12) and that episode did far fewer than a million total viewers, with roughly 800,000 people viewing it, instead. Lifetime doesn’t rank the best ratings for a cable channel, but some of its other original content, from Project Runway to The Client List does far better that 800K. Of course, those shows have scantily clad women to bolster the ratings.
Over the years, America’s Most Wanted has tracked down criminals of all ilks, from murderers to rapist, white collar crimes, and later, even Internet predators. While the program wasn’t always the star of Fox’s and then Lifetime’s ratings, its reenactment-based episodes were cheap to produce. In 2008, the series was responsible for the capture of the 1,000 criminal featured on the show, and to date the series has helped to capture 1,202 fugitives worldwide.
This may be the end for America’s Most Wanted, but it isn’t the end for Walsh’s crime fighting efforts. TV Guide is reporting Lifetime has a brand new projects in the works with the TV producer, tentatively called John Walsh Investigates. While that’s a less catchy title than America’s Most Wanted, it’s also less of a dinosaur.