The end of John Walsh's television run was short-lived, with Lifetime acquiring America's Most Wanted to debut with originals later this year, said Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager of Lifetime Networks. When it premieres on Lifetime, the show will hit a quarter-century on the air.
"America's Most Wanted is a seminal program that provides a very valuable service to both viewers and law enforcement agencies," said Dubuc in a statement. "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."
"I've always believed there was something very special about America's Most Wanted and that there should be a home for it on television, and I couldn't be happier to now be able bring it back on Lifetime," said Walsh, also in a statement. "We've often been called the court of last resort...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."
At the advertising upfronts in May, Fox announced that it was dropping the long-running show from its Saturday evening lineup. The show, produced by Twentieth Century Fox, will air in four two-hour quarterly specials on Fox this fall.
America's Most Wanted was canceled once before, in 1996, but protests from fans and law enforcement officials as well as low ratings from the shows that replaced it caused Fox to put it back on its Saturday night schedule, where it remained for another 15 years.
In its nearly 25 years on the air, America's Most Wanted has played a role in the capture of more than 1,100 fugitives in the U.S. and in 30 countries, including 17 criminals who were listed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted. AMW also has assisted in the rescue of 61 children.
This month, America's Most Wanted will receive the Governor's Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Walsh found himself in the role of crime fighter after his only child, Adam, was abducted and murdered in July 1981. Since then, Walsh and his wife, Reve, with whom Walsh has three more children, have been instrumental in creating the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 1984. Walsh, who also has written three best-selling books, launched America's Most Wanted in 1988. On July 27, 2006, 25 years after Adam's murder, President George W. Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which gives law enforcement the tools to track and apprehend convicted sex offenders who disappear from sight after they are released from prison.