- - Wednesday, September 7, 2011

‘America’s Most Wanted’ finds new home on Lifetime

Just weeks after Fox dropped “America’s Most Wanted” after more than two decades, its creator-host, John Walsh, has a new home for the show on the Lifetime network.

The deal, announced jointly on Tuesday by Mr. Walsh and Lifetime, will return Mr. Walsh’s weekly criminal roundup to the air. Since 1988, it has helped bring almost 1,200 fugitives to justice.

The series will return for its 25th season later this year.

“We’ve often been called the court of last resort,” Mr. Walsh said. “Now we are back in the game and ready to saddle up for another season to get justice for victims and put dangerous criminals behind bars.”

Fox announced in May that it was axing “AMW,” citing high production costs. At the time, the network said it would present four quarterly specials in the coming season. The first of those specials will air in October, and Fox will follow it with the remaining three, Mr. Walsh said.

Fox’s final weekly “AMW” was telecast in June.

“We kept the hot line and website up, and we’ve caught four guys,” Mr. Walsh said. “The viewers didn’t give up on us.”

Mr. Walsh launched his crime-busting crusade in 1981 in the aftermath of the abduction and murder of his 6-year-old son, Adam. He became an outspoken advocate for tougher laws against sex offenders, more cooperation among law enforcement agencies, and citizen involvement in flushing out fugitives.

On Saturday, Mr. Walsh will get a special Emmy Award saluting his show. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will give Mr. Walsh its Governors Award at the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony in Los Angeles. The honor goes to a person or organization that makes a substantial impact or demonstrates an extraordinary use of television.

Eddie Murphy tapped to host 2012 Oscars

In the tradition of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, and later Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg, Oscar is going back to its comedic roots with Eddie Murphy as host.

The actor and comedian will host the 84th annual Academy Awards, producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer said Tuesday — and even they were surprised the reclusive star agreed to the gig.

The last comic to host the show alone was Jon Stewart in 2008. A singing, dancing Hugh Jackman took over in 2009, and in recent years, pairs of actors have helmed the show.

This is Mr. Murphy’s first time hosting the Academy Awards. He said in a statement that he’s “enormously honored” to join the ranks of the aforementioned Oscar hosts.

Mr. Ratner and Mr. Murphy worked together on their latest film, “Tower Heist,” and the director casually floated the notion of hosting the Oscars by the star.

“And Eddie said, ‘Wow, that would be a brilliant idea for you and me to do the Oscars together,’ ” Mr. Ratner recalled.

“I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ ” Mr. Ratner said in an interview. He called Mr. Mischer, his co-producer, who immediately warned him not to get his hopes up.

“I said, ‘Not a chance,’ ” the veteran TV director and producer said. “Everybody wants Eddie Murphy. He’s a comedic genius, he’s a brilliant impersonator. … So many times through the years I’ve tried to get Eddie Murphy to agree to come be on a show, and generally he kind of stays to himself and has not been interested in it.”

Mr. Murphy made a rare TV appearance in April on the inaugural Comedy Awards, which Mr. Mischer produced, when the 50-year-old entertainer accepted the Comedy Icon award.

By contrast, when Mr. Murphy was nominated for an Oscar for 2006’s “Dreamgirls,” he did very few interviews and reportedly left the ceremony as soon as his category was announced. (Alan Arkin won for “Little Miss Sunshine.”)

The 84th annual Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theatre.

ABC’s Harrison to stay as Miss America host

Miss America is sticking with “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, at least for another two years.

The ABC host, who has been front-and-center for the network on several reality competitions, awards shows and last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, told the Associated Press he’s happy to help the pageant showcase young women who’ve become top role models from throughout the country.

“It’s not about you [as host],” Mr. Harrison said. “It’s about these amazing women that have dedicated their lives to this one moment.”

Next year’s pageant is scheduled to air live Jan. 14 from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The pageant’s announcement comes as it marks the 90th anniversary of its first competition this week. Back in 1921 — when Margaret Gorman was crowned — it was little more than a bathing revue. Today, the Miss America Organization touts itself as the country’s largest provider of scholarships to young women, giving more than $45 million last year.

The pageant returned to network television this year for the first time since 2004. It aired in the meantime on cable with CMT and TLC but found itself without a TV deal in March 2010 until ABC picked it up for a three-year deal.

Regis Philbin to retire from show Nov. 18

Regis Philbin says his last day on his daytime talk show will be Nov. 18.

The veteran TV personality made the announcement on Tuesday’s edition of “Live With Regis and Kelly” as it began its 24th season in national syndication.

Mr. Philbin announced in January that he planned to leave the show by year’s end, but he didn’t specify a date. The show will continue with Kelly Ripa, who joined him as co-host a decade ago.

No new co-host has yet been chosen to team up with Miss Ripa.

Mr. Philbin, who turned 80 last month, has been a TV fixture since the 1950s. A three-time Emmy Award winner, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2008.

Compiled from web and wire reports.

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