Fox to cancel America’s Most Wanted?

posted at 2:42 pm on May 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Fifteen years ago, Fox tried to cancel its signature series America’s Most Wanted, but ended up reinstating it after protests from viewers, law enforcement, and 37 governors across the nation.  Today, Fox announced its new schedule for next season, and AMW won’t be on it.  Instead, Fox wants the space for, er, reruns:

Good news for criminals: Fox is cancelling its long-running crime-stopping series America’s Most Wanted.

The series profiling men and women wanted by law enforcement agencies has been on the air since 1988 and consistently wins its time period. A few years ago it announced the capture of its 1,000th criminal. …

Another factor, Reilly noted, is needing an open time period where the network can re-air episodes of other shows.

“We’re going to be in originals across our schedule,” Reilly says. “We want to be able to play repeats to give the audience a chance to catch up and that’s one of the few places we can do that.”

Is that really a big problem?  In the age of DVRs and on-demand programming, why does a network need to keep its prime-time real estate open for reruns?  Even if one missed the original airing of an episode, they could simply record a rerun in the middle of the night rather than offering up rewarmed content on Saturday evenings.

The real reason appears to be cost.  One might think that the granddaddy of reality shows — and the only one with any redeeming value to the community — would have a lower cost than fiction with casts of actors to pay, but apparently not.  The problem on AMW is probably that they have to pay actors for all those recreations they use in featuring stories, eliminating at least some of the cost advantage of most reality shows.

John Walsh has hosted the show for its entire 23-year run, and he’s working to move it to another network, according to Fox.  Let’s hope he succeeds.


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Great show that serves a vital function. I hope Walsh finds it a home and a decent budget.

Kataklysmic on May 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM

I’m shocked. AMW is way more effective than Eric Holder, and a heck of a lot cheaper. I will send an email.

Paul-Cincy on May 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM

I think Al Gore’s network has some open spots.

Lily on May 16, 2011 at 2:46 PM

A few years ago it announced the capture of its 1,000th criminal. …

This is probably one of the most influential and effective uses of TV programming that has ever played. If you could measure the lives, money, suffering etc that have been saved because of taking these 1,000 dirtbags off the street, it would be huge. Heck even taking 10 murderers off the street is huge…Mr. Walsh has done an extraordinary public service by doing this show for so long.

ted c on May 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM

We should just have them set up shop in Washington. They would have enough material on Capitol Hill alone for at least 5 more seasons.

search4truth on May 16, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Too much risk of politicians showing up on the most wanted list.

NeighborhoodCatLady on May 16, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Growfins can finally go out in public again, though post offices are still off limits.

Bishop on May 16, 2011 at 2:49 PM

I didn’t even realize it was still on.

It can’t be that much to pay those actors.

Maybe Fox needs the space for yet another Seth McFarlane cartoon.

reaganaut on May 16, 2011 at 2:49 PM

23 years? I haven’t watched network television for a longer period than I thought…

Vashta.Nerada on May 16, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Cripe, didn’t realize it was still on air….only watch house and Chicago code on fox

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Oh good grief. What’s the REAL reason, Fox?

Seriously, this is just sad. The noise-to-content ratio of television is getting ridiculous, and AMW was one of the very few big-name programs that was actually beneficial to the public. Not even TLC is much for ‘learning’ anymore.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 16, 2011 at 2:51 PM

In the age of DVRs and on-demand programming, why does a network need to keep its prime-time real estate open for reruns?

Actually, this is becomming sort of a big deal as traditional broadcast networks are losing viewers to cable series on stations like TNT, FX, USA, etc.

The big advantage the cables have is that they re-run that week’s episode multiple times during the week (and usually twice on the night it originally airs as well). This isn’t just to allow people to catch up, but to draw more eyeballs to begin with. People don’t set their DVRs to a record a show they’ve never seen to begin with.

This has a secondary advantage of letting the cable shows get more bang for their buck since the initial production cost can be spread over more time slots.

Nessuno on May 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM

This is still on the air?

lorien1973 on May 16, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Thank you, AMW, for all you have done over the past two decades — and special thanks for highlighting Marizela’s case:


http://michellemalkin.com/2011/04/12/marizela-featured-on-americas-most-wanted-plus-other-young-missing-women-in-the-pacific-northwest/

Our family, like so many others, is forever indebted for your vigilance and attention to the missing.

Michelle on May 16, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Extreme Makeover Home Edition has redeeming value to the community as well, Ed.

Vincenzo on May 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Haven’t watched it in years. It served a purpose before the internet, Amber alerts, etc.

Take it to the True Network John.

portlandon on May 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Growfins can finally go out in public again, though post offices are still off limits.

Bishop on May 16, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Heh…where has fins been lately?

Tim Zank on May 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM

You’d think this would be something that would be picked up for syndication, much like COPS has been on for probably 20+ years by now.

teke184 on May 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Is that really a big problem? In the age of DVRs and on-demand programming, why does a network need to keep its prime-time real estate open for reruns?

Internet as well. You can watch everything from the internet – my daugthers don’t even bother with TV in the evening and there’s less reason to get cable every day.
Well, Fox ain’t PBS. If it’s not paying, it’s not staying.

Cricket624 on May 16, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Well if Walsh does get another network maybe he will still have the AMW site where we can go to find the bad guys. I really hate to hear this news, we always watched the show on Saturday.
L

letget on May 16, 2011 at 2:57 PM

America’s Most Wanted: Sarah Palin Edition would be a big hit.

leftnomore on May 16, 2011 at 2:57 PM

They better not cancel America’s Most Wanted. This is the show that catches murderers, rapists, and child molesters.

SoulGlo on May 16, 2011 at 2:57 PM

They could cut cost and use taiwanese animation instead of actors.

mad saint jack on May 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Well, Fox ain’t PBS. If it’s not paying, it’s not staying.

Come to think of it, isn’t this relatively true of PBS, too? I mean, ever go into their stores or shop online? They’re making a fortune!

Cricket624 on May 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

I’m glad to see that John is working with michelle’s family to find her cousin. It’s a proven method. I hope they find her soon.

ted c on May 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

too bad the Fleebaggers didn’t come up on AMW. That would have been a hoot!

ted c on May 16, 2011 at 3:00 PM

John Walsh has hosted the show for its entire 23-year run, and he’s working to move it to another network, according to Fox. Let’s hope he succeeds.

Indeed. Maybe the Fox news channel could find some space for it, or even the FBN? They seem to re-run a lot of shows on the weekends. Geraldo could give up his space. It’s the least he could do, for all the crap he’s put us thru.

capejasmine on May 16, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Used to watch the show as a kid, but haven’t for the past decade. Tis a shame. Hopefully the other media we have today pick up the slack. Is there an AMW app?

El_Terrible on May 16, 2011 at 3:02 PM

I have once or twice watched a little ditty called “I almost got away with it” which tells about people who escape from the police and are on the lam (and who eventually get caught)

Interestingly, these people, the ones that are on the lam, watch that show…or their friends watch that show. Not for the entertainment value…if they are on the show, well, they drop everything and run…they are scared to death of that show. I haven’t watched it, but have great respect for it.

r keller on May 16, 2011 at 3:03 PM

That show helps catch a lot of criminals. And it’s very popular.

Blake on May 16, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Geraldo could give up his space. It’s the least he could do, for all the crap he’s put us thru.

capejasmine on May 16, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Sure is! 1,000 bad guys in the clink are certainly worth one empty vault…!

ted c on May 16, 2011 at 3:11 PM

I’m shocked. AMW is way more effective than Eric Holder, and a heck of a lot cheaper. I will send an email.

Paul-Cincy on May 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Agreed, but that’s a pretty low bar.

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Heh…where has fins been lately?

Tim Zank on May 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Banned, I think, though for exactly what I’m not sure.

(I lurked here for a very long time)

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 16, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Network TV sucks, for the most part, sucks. Might as well plug reruns into the worst night for TV viewing on top of it.

changer1701 on May 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Publicity stunt.

Ronnie on May 16, 2011 at 3:21 PM

If Oprah’s network was smart, they’d pick this up.

ButterflyDragon on May 16, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Move it to FNC weekends replacing Huckabee, Geraldo and that gawd awful judge.

meci on May 16, 2011 at 3:24 PM

MSNBC will run it as America’s Most Wanted Racist Teabaggers

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Heh…where has fins been lately?

Tim Zank on May 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Here you go.

GrowFins Banned

CBP on May 16, 2011 at 3:28 PM

If Oprah’s network was smart, they’d pick this up.

ButterflyDragon on May 16, 2011 at 3:23 PM

With the criminal/huckster element in her audience? Never.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 16, 2011 at 3:29 PM

What a boneheaded move. I love that show. John Walsh plays such a righteously indignant character…oh wait.

scalleywag on May 16, 2011 at 3:33 PM

The most famous cases that were solved directly as a result of America’s Most Wanted viewers…

* finding Elizabeth Smart and the capture of her abductors
* the capture of the Texas Seven — who broke out of prison and killed a police officer
* the capture of John List — a New Jersey accountant who murdered his family in 1971 and avoided arrest for 18 years living under an assumed identity

aunursa on May 16, 2011 at 3:33 PM

This show should be funded by taxpayers.

/

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM

They got the number person on on the AMW and now it is time to leave Afghanistan.

Maybe they could do edited reruns of AMW on the ones that got away and any other unsolved. A 23 years of those recap shows could fill a season.

tjexcite on May 16, 2011 at 3:38 PM

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 3:27 PM

THIS

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 3:48 PM

This show should be funded by taxpayers.

/

faraway on May 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I was thinking that this might be the ONLY show I could justify PBS funding for.

Only problem would be that on PBS, all the most wanted would become sympathetic victims of an oppressive society. “Yes, a criminal police conspiracy has forced poor XXXX to spend years on the run for a triple murder and robbery he never committed.”

OBQuiet on May 16, 2011 at 3:59 PM

There’s the Crime and Investigation Network.

Perfect for them.

Mazztek on May 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM

It can’t be that much to pay those actors.

Have you seen SAG rates to hire a single voice over for a :30 second spot? and the restrictive rules they place on their members? Since Texas is right to work, I can pitch a script to a potential talent, let them know what the client’s budget is and they can decide if they want to earn X dollars for about 30 minutes of work….. If my client wants a talent that is a SAG member, the rules change dramatically including limitations on how long the spot can run and in how many markets.

2nd Ammendment Mother on May 16, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Maybe they should get the actors that star in SyFy’s original movies. Those guys can’t be paid that much.

Kafir on May 16, 2011 at 5:09 PM

The problem on AMW is probably that they have to pay actors for all those recreations they use in featuring stories, eliminating at least some of the cost advantage of most reality shows.

One word (or maybe three, depending on how you count): CGI

JackOfClubs on May 16, 2011 at 5:43 PM

That show is still on????

Who Knew……. Stopped watching is over a decade ago

the_ancient on May 16, 2011 at 9:50 PM