To get back into television, John Walsh had to relinquish some of the control that he’d grown used to. Walsh, who chased fugitives for 26 years, first on Fox’s America’s Most Wanted and a short postscript on Lifetime, has returned to TV with The Hunt (9 p.m. Sundays on CNN).
After years where he made his own program, this time the production team behind Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown was assigned to the show by CNN chief Jeff Zucker.
“The hardest thing is the letting go and the squashing of ego when you’ve been successful,” Walsh, 68, told the Associated Press.
He measures success with statistics, saying his efforts to publicize crimes and encourage viewers to tip authorities contributed to the capture of 1,231 fugitives and the recovery of 61 missing children.
However, that scorecard may have contributed to the downfall of AMW. Walsh said that in the show’s last few years, he was obsessed with getting as many cases on the air as possible, to the show’s detriment.
“It became overwhelming,” he said. “We would have re-creations that were two minutes long. You never got a sense of the victims. You never got a sense of what was going on. We were old and tired.”
The Hunt slows down and tries to tell a story. Most of the CNN shows will have one case or two.
The Hunt is soon to announce a partnership with Facebook to promote Amber Alerts. Although Walsh is eager to use social media for his crime-fighting efforts, he said the vast majority of tips he generates is through television.
“I will always be the parent of a murdered child,” said Walsh, whose efforts began after the 1981 kidnapping of his 6-year-old son Adam. “I will always be that angry, driven guy.”