America’s Most Wanted, the show that profiled criminals on the run for 24 years, has been canceled in a cost-cutting move, said a Fox network announcement reported by the Palm Beach Post. The show, hosted by South Florida victims advocate John Walsh, has been a staple of Saturday night TV since 1988. It has helped capture more than 1,151 fugitives nationwide. , including 134 in Florida cases, according to Avery Mann, the show’s publicist.
“It was a real valuable tool to get information out and help us profile cases,” said Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. “I’ve known John Walsh for about 25 years. They were always about doing the right thing.” In 1996, Fox also announced plans to cancel the show until an outpouring from outraged law enforcement officers, judges, and even politicians persuaded Fox to return the program to its lineup. The issue isn’t the popularity of the show, which has 5 million weekly viewers. It’s the cost of production, said Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. Fox plans to run quarterly America’s Most Wanted specials after the show goes off the air this fall.