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Fox revives “America’s Most Wanted” with John Walsh as co-host

Walsh's son Callahan will serve in a co-host role on the 24th season of the true crime program.

Walsh's son Callahan will serve in a co-host role on the 24th season of the true crime program.

John Walsh appeared on the original "America's Most Wanted" when it debuted on Fox in the late 1980s. (Still frame via archival video)
John Walsh appeared on the original “America’s Most Wanted” when it debuted on Fox in the late 1980s. (Still frame via archival video)

One of America’s first true crime programs is set to return to the airwaves — and its original host is coming along for the ride.

This week, Fox Entertainment said John Walsh will reprise his role as co-host of “America’s Most Wanted” after the Fox network green-lit a 24th season of the show. His son, Callahan, will serve in a co-host role as well.

“It’s an incredible time for America’s Most Wanted to return to Fox, especially in partnership with my son, Callahan, to continue my lifetime’s work,” the elder Walsh said in a statement on Wednesday. “I’m in constant awe over how instrumental our loyal viewers are in ensuring we get justice for victims and their loved ones, and today, they have entirely new tools at their disposal to help us fight back and quickly solve even more crimes.”

The show originally debuted as a half-hour program on the Fox network in 1988. It eventually expanded into an hour-long show that anchored Fox’s weekend line-up until it was cancelled in 2011.

Following its cancellation on Fox, America’s Most Wanted moved to Lifetime, with Walsh continuing on as its host until it was cancelled by the channel in 2013.

Fox revived the series in 2021, with former ABC News journalist Elizabeth Vargas (now at NewsNation) selected as the new host. Fox also produced an extension series called “America’s Most Wanted Overtime” for the Fox Nation streaming service, hosted by former HLN personality Nancy Grace.

For Walsh, America’s Most Wanted is personal. He became an advocate for crime victims following the abduction and murder of his son, Adam Walsh, in the 1981. A television movie called “Adam” aired on NBC two years later and was seen by around 38 million people, and Walsh was instrumental in advocating on behalf of missing children and their families in the years between Adam’s disappearance and the show’s debut.

“John Walsh is a singular voice in a life-long crusade to bring justice to victims and their families,” Allison Wallach, the head of unscripted programming at Fox Entertainment, said on Wednesday. “It’s an honor to have America’s Most Wanted and John, along with Callahan, return to his original home at Fox, to continue this important work by empowering viewers to help capture some of the country’s most dangerous fugitives.”

More than 1,200 fugitives featured on America’s Most Wanted have been captured since the show’s first program aired in the 1980s.

“After nearly a decade, it’s thrilling to be back on the case with John Walsh on this new season of America’s Most Wanted,” said John Ferracane, the executive producer and showrunner for the program. “John is a legend who literally invented the true-crime TV genre, and he’s done so much good for so many victims and families since this iconic show’s first episode 35 years ago. His passion for justice and law enforcement is second to none. With John and his son, Callahan, returning to the first-ever true crime show, America’s Most Wanted, we will bring to the forefront the crime problems we have in America right now and help make our streets safer.”

The new season of America’s Most Wanted debuts Monday, January 22 on Fox stations and affiliates across the country. Episodes of the show will be available to stream on Hulu and Tubi one day after they air on Fox.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).