It’s the end of an era for the longest-running TV series on FOX. After 24 seasons, the network has cancelled America’s Most Wanted. It’ll continue as a series of occasional FOX specials but, as you might expect, the show’s no-nonsense host isn’t taking the demotion lying down.
Debuting back in February 1988 on seven Fox-owned stations, America’s Most Wanted found immediate success. Within four days of its first broadcast, one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted was captured as a direct result. This made it clear to skeptics that the show could be a very effective tool for law enforcement agencies. A couple months later, the series debuted on the new FOX network and became its first hit.
The series was briefly cancelled in 1996 when the network opted to air sitcom repeats instead. Viewers and law enforcement officials voiced their upset and FOX reinstated the show. It didn’t hurt that the reruns weren’t performing particularly well.
Last March, the 1,000th installment of America’s Most Wanted aired live from the White House and Walsh and President Obama discussed the impact of the show and some of the administration’s crime-fighting initiatives. To date, more than 1,150 episodes have been produced. The official website touts that as many felons have been caught in part because of the show’s profiles.
The series has been one of the best-rated shows on Saturday nights for quite some time. Unfortunately, FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly said today that the ratings weren’t enough to justify the cost. He said, “It has been an important show for us historically but it’s no secret to John, we have not made money on the show in a quite awhile. It wasn’t particularly viable.”
FOX has been the only network to schedule original programming on Saturday nights and Reilly feels that it makes more sense to air repeats of its drama series in the 9pm timeslot.
Reilly noted that America’s Most Wanted will continue on the network however, as a series of quarterly two-hour specials.
The show is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and STF Productions. Reilly also said that Walsh is in talks with other divisions of News Corp (which owns FOX) about the possibility of continuing the weekly series on another outlet. MyNetworkTV seems like a possible choice. Reilly added, “I would not be at all surprised to see the show pop up somewhere else.”
What do you think? Are you disappointed that the series won’t be on FOX every week? Has the show made a difference?
Wondering where the rest of your shows stand? Check our FOX cancel/renew page.
Image courtesy FOX.