Earlier this year, America’s Most Wanted– a 23-year-old Fox show spearheaded by anti-crime crusader John Walsh- wrapped up its run on Fox.
But while the episodes stopped airing, the calls kept coming, says Walsh. Walsh became active as an anti-crime activist after the 1981 kidnapping and murder of his son Adam, and his show remained relatively popular through its two decade run. So much so that even after its June curtain call, Walsh says, the America’s Most Wanted hotline “caught five guys.” So it’s probably not too surprising that the show has found a new life… on female-centric scaremonger network Lifetime.
Now, I like a good Lifetime film as much as the next person, but the channel’s content hinges largely on a few basic storylines, themselves all variations on “if your man or a man is not trying to sleep with you, your sister or you and your sister at the same time, he is probably trying to steal your car and your baby.” When not airing films about women being victimized, the channel likes to air either neuroses-based sitcoms or real-life crime dramatization show Unsolved Mysteries, which is about everyone getting victimized. Lifetime’s EVP of programming Rob Sharenow concurs, and explains how America’s Most Wanted fits into the channel’s identity:
“I don’t believe there’s ever been a show that combines entertainment with public service in the way this show does, and its mission is something we believe in very deeply,” says Rob Sharenow, Lifetime executive vice president of programming. “Public safety, keeping our streets safe, keeping our children safe is probably the issue of most importance to our viewers.”
The America’s Most Wanted reboot premieres tonight on Lifetime at 9PM.