Say "so long" to America's Most Wanted on Saturday nights. Fox’s Fugitive hunt is getting the axe.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Fox says AMW is going away because it's not paying the bills. Fox hasn't been making any money on the show for years. That’s despite about 5 million viewers an episode, which is impressive for its Saturday night time-slot. Still, it costs a lot of money to churn out the televised fugitive hunt. So Fox has pulled the plug.
For now, the network will run a 2-hour long America's Most Wanted special every three months. And the show’s host John Walsh is said to be in talks with other networks, so don't be surprised to see America's Most Wanted popping-up somewhere else.
Meanwhile, the show boasts 1,151 fugitives caught, and some of those bad guys are local.
When a bad guy goes running and disappears out of State, that's when America's Most Wanted is most useful.
"It's a national show, and the opportunity to get his picture out there can only help us," said Jason Ramos, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Most recently, AMW featured Larry Jones, a suspect in the South Sacramento barbershop shoot-out that injured five and killed 2. among those killed was Monique Nelson, who died shielding her toddler son from the bullets.
Nelson's is not the first local case they've highlighted. They've been doing it for years.
"We have sent several cases to their show and we have had success,” said Laura Peck, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Police Department. She remembers the case of a child molester who fled California.
"They highlighted that case on America's most wanted and shortly there-after, he was arrested in Texas," Peck said.
But there are plenty of cases the show couldn't help solve. Like the 2006 murder of Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Mitchell; shot in the head after he pulled over a white van on an empty county road. Or the 2007 slaying of Sean Aqutania and his baby, Sean, Jr. Robbers shot both. Unbelievably, they fired on baby Sean as he sat in his car seat. And police say Ernie Hernandez was stabbed to death by the man that could be seen running away in surveillance video. They even know his name: Samuel Esquibel. But the America's Most Wanted publicity wasn't enough to bring him in, either.
Still, local police are loath to see it go.
“Absolutely. It is something we have utilized and had success with," Peck said.
As for Larry Jones, he was arrested here is Sacramento on information police were able to develop the old fashion way.
Remember, America's Most Wanted was canceled once before, in 1996. But the cancelation was brief. The network brought the show back after it received thousands of disapproving letters, many of them from law enforcement officers.
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