Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sunday People

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sunday People

Article excerpt

Walsh returns to TV

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 during a short postscript on Lifetime, returns Sunday on CNN (8 p.m., St. Louis time) with a new show, "The Hunt." 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, said.

He measures success with statistics, saying his efforts to publicize crimes and encourage viewers to tip off authorities contributed to the capture of 1,231 fugitives and the recovery of 61 missing children.

That scorecard, however, may have contributed to the downfall of "America's Most Wanted." Walsh said that in its 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. The first hourlong episode concentrates on the case of Shane Miller, a California man suspected of killing his wife and two daughters last year. Most of the CNN shows will have one case or two.

Working with Zero Point Zero Productions took a huge pressure off him, Walsh said.

Zucker, the longtime executive producer of the "Today" show before moving up in management, said he grew up in the business with Walsh. "The Hunt" is part of his effort to create shows to sustain CNN during slow news periods.

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