TV Review: ‘The Hunt With John Walsh’

The Hunt with John Walsh

CNN is clearly still experimenting with the sort of nonfiction series the network can accommodate, as it seeks to wean itself off the ratings vagaries of the news cycle. And while this initiative has produced some interesting programs, it has yielded few misses as stylistically ill considered as “The Hunt With John Walsh.” Essentially a new iteration of Walsh’s “America’s Most Wanted,” the show feels more suited to TLC or Investigation Discovery, featuring reenacted shots like a dead body with blood artfully oozing from it. In the process, CNN further blurs the thin red line between news and Lifetime movie.

Once again acting as the audience’s surrogate avenger, Walsh cites his own history, noting, “I’ll always be the parent of a murdered child.” And while one can yet grieve for the tragedy that helped make him famous, Walsh’s hang-’em-high approach is made clear in his role here, which is less to serve as host/narrator, per se, than to provide periodic commentary that reminds viewers how horrible the bad guys are. Walsh even urges one suspect — if he happens to be watching — to turn himself in or, barring that, take his own life.

As with “America’s Most Wanted,” the perpetrators (nothing in the show ever implies “alleged”) remain at large, with their crimes meticulously recreated via a mix of heavily scored reenactments and interviews with law enforcement and victims’ loved ones. The cases are visceral, and terrible: In the premiere, a Northern California man is accused of killing his wife and two young daughters. The second hour focuses on an accused pedophile.

The goal of helping authorities nab these fugitives is laudable, and the series is produced by Zero Point Zero Prods., which is also responsible for “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.” Yet unlike that travelogue, there’s something unsavory about CNN employing such techniques to conjure a context-free true-crime platform as salacious as anything in the entertainment realm.

Walsh was largely inoculated against such concerns during “America’s Most Wanted’s” heyday because of all the good the Fox series did in helping apprehend fugitives, but even with the compromises made under CEO Jeff Zucker, CNN is a different animal. And while the demonstrated popularity of the genre makes it likely this show will yield ratings benefits, “The Hunt” suggests the line governing the network’s evolving standards might be as elusive as any of these suspects.

TV Review: 'The Hunt With John Walsh'

(Series; CNN, Sun. July 13, 9 p.m.)


Produced by Zero Point Zero Prods.


Executive producers, John Walsh, Lydia Tenaglia, Chris Collins, Craig Shepherd; co-executive producers, Shawn Cuddy, Ted Shillinger; producer, William Kerr; supervising story producer, Jess Beck; director - reenactments, John Bedolis; editor, James Taylor. 60 MIN.


Host: John Walsh

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  1. K says:

    So was excited about the concept of this show. Begin to watch episode 2. About a child being preyed upon sexually by an adult and am appalled that tv is getting so vile that it would reinact the sex scenes of this crime and abuse like a porno for fools. Wtf would a reinactment be needed for ???? SHAME on media game. Smh …really disappointed in John Walsh for being a manipulative part in furthering the stimulation of what we need to be calling shameful.

    • Lauren says:

      I do not feel sympathy at all that you can’t handle real life. You are complaining about seeing a reenactment about REALITY? Sorry the TRUTH was too much for you to handle? FYI, this show is to prompt people to action in calling in about these profiled creeps and evil doers and you’re selfishly complaining about your fragile sensibilities? Think about how the families of the victims must feel, stop only thinking about yourself, and actually try and help causes like this isn’t of playing a tv critic on their couch.

  2. Genie Coats says:

    Genie Coats… We love your show, and wonder when we can be watching it again. I put the TV on the channel that you were on CNN, and have been disappointed that we never can find it any more. Please let us know when it will be on, and the day and time. Thank you, Genie

  3. Holly Bayol says:

    How do I get a wanted fugitive who killed my nephew on the show… he has been on the run for 20+ years now..he killed my nephew in a drunk driving crash. He got sentenced to 40 years in prison 20 for killing my nephew and 20 for 2 bodily injuries he caused to passengers in my nephew car. I really need your help in finding this creep Please help

  4. Kayla says:

    Mike Ruffino of The Unband wrote and performs the song, but unable to find out the name of the song. It must not be released yet.

  5. Darin Green says:

    Curious as to who plays the theme song on “The Hunt” with John Walsh

  6. Bill Brinley says:

    Hi John, I have been watching your show right from the start. AMW was great. Then some how I was confused…..Like where is AMW……..I found you on lifetime, then you went to another station. Was unable to keep track, thought you went off air……Now your on CNN, Saturdays, and again a change to CNN Sundays. Is there anyway that CNN can advertise on other stations telling your show “The Hunt” will be on…etc. John please move around, the empty warehouse thing is depressing. What happen to you? You sitting in the chair in a empty warehouse, saying the same thing over and over when the show comes on. You look so depressed John, What is wrong? believe this, I worry about you and asking the good Lord to take care of you. Right no it’s Sunday Feb. 15th 2015 and your show should be on at 9:00 pm. I hope. You take care my friend, Bill (retired Correctional Officer. in CT)

  7. Carol anne says:

    We need much more information about what the bad guy looks like now…totoos..w/glasses bald, hair, smile, likes, dislikes, smoke? drink?etc……I travel all over the 4 corners and would look for you but I need a visual. …like your program. ….caw…

  8. I was trying to find the music Mike Ruffino he played a wonderful piece on the The Hunt with John Walsh it was the story about Bradford Bishop…If someone could help me…

  9. June Hebert says:

    I wanted to watch your program last night but had ti give up because f all the music or back ground n oise. Ican’t hear =the words so shut off June

  10. The Bishop case we have people at Kearley Park apartment for senior that look like that person in Flint, Michigan. Also more that traffic with cenco case ome work ad school crossing guard. Please come help thank you and God be with your spirit.

  11. rosco says:

    I would be far more appreciative of John Walsh if he were focusing on CRIME PREVENTION instead of the vigilante justice.

    • K says:

      So was excited about the concept of this show. Begin to watch episode 2. About a child being preyed upon sexually by an adult and am appalled that tv is getting so vile that it would reinact the sex scenes of this crime and abuse like a porno for fools. Wtf would a reinactment be needed for ???? SHAME on media game. Smh …really disappointed in John Walsh for being a manipulative part in furthering the stimulation of what we need to be calling shameful.

  12. Colette Thomas says:

    John Walsh of “The Hunt with John Walsh” is an ” Everyday Hero”.

  13. Wimpy says:

    Go John!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. John
    Watched your show last night and today the reality came true in NY. We need to get the word out and the world needs to get you on nantional tv so everybody knows what’s going on. Not everybody watches CNN. Great job, look forward to seeing your show in the future.

  15. Sue Duncan says:

    Guess what? That damned child molester got his! Hope the victim’s family can sleep now!
    John Walsh should be praised for his never ending effort to help all our children and grandchildren.
    Keep up the good work John!
    We will keep our eyes open for these Bastards!!!!!!!!

  16. N J Maleland says:

    Made time to watch this and looked forward to it. It was terrible – dragged out – couldn’t tell what was “real” footage vs. what was simulated – bloody images for effect and John lost all of his charisma as a result. This thing needs to be totally revamped (1/2 hour only?) or tossed out in full.

  17. Jean Whistler says:

    Couldn’t watch it. Shows pedophiles how to do it. And how to avoid getting caught. Shame on John Walsh.

  18. Susan says:

    Love what John Walsh has done to help catch bad guys. This new show imagery and format is terrible. Music is even stupid and their attempt to be
    Artsy. This repetative footage is just a time waster and the work of somebody that has done toom any mtv videos or something. I cant believe mr Walsh would like this format to represent the seriousness of the subject. I cant watch it. Too wierd and amateurish on the
    Parts of the editors

  19. mike says:

    1 hour on 1 person is to long

  20. Mary Stuman says:

    so very glad you are back – missed Americas Most Wanted till now – you help a lot of people find some kind of closure also enjoyed you on Cold Justice, Good luck

  21. John V. says:

    The show solved nothing!!! John Walsh, once again, using his past experience to make money. He does nothing, just a lot of talk and no action. Guess what John, you didn’t get your man!!! Ridiculous, and will not watch it again. Sorry for CNN!!

  22. LeslieB says:

    I was looking forward to seeing John Walsh in his new program. I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Way too much blood, the story moved way too slow. I’ll watch again next week, but if it’s not a big improvement over the premier episode I won’t be watching again. There are so many ‘bad guys’ out there that the producers of The Hunt could profile several in each episode and always have new material!

  23. Jos H. says:

    WAY WAY over produced. Who cares about pot plants photographed from underneath? From the opening credits to the empty warehouse to the dramatic music, it is overdone. In an hour show, they could get two to three stories told without all the drama. The show won’t make it if they stick to this format.

    • Mike says:

      That show could easily be a 1/2hr if that. All the slow motion, repeditive takes and lap over after each commercial was insulting to this viewer and spouse. I will watch the first 5-minutes and fast forward to the last 5-minutes- sorry sponsers but my time is more valuable than that.
      I hope this is not his foundation against guns?
      Captain Mike

  24. kt says:

    old program ..its only a new name is this the best cnn can come up with, love john walsh but life goes on and you can stop evil sorry john but the show is slow and not from the heart its all about money now its time to let it go. how about a photo on milk again or maybe on the side of email like all the young ladies the that would get more bang for your buck and more views then watching some old program the a knock program from yesteryear.

  25. ReviewerAlso says:

    Show is way, way to drug out with nothing into 60 mins and at best it’s a 30 min show.

  26. RCA says:

    Yes, the dripping blood was extreme, but standards are evolving downward. They have to get people to watch. Look at the horrendous vile shows on NBC like Special Victims Unit. *** I do not think there is any doubt this psycho was guilty. He does not even claim to be innocent, he flees the scene and won’t face authorities. Yeah, John Walsh urged the twisted sicko to kill himself, but that is certainly within his First Amendment right to do so. The guy killed his own wife and 2 little girls for no reason at all — maybe he should kill himself.

  27. Ann M. says:

    It was GREAT to see John Walsh again….He’s very good and very passionate about ‘getting the bad guys’…he is a pleasure to watch….however The Hunt is way too slow, and I don’t know how many times I thought “get on with it…” I will watch it one more time to see if it is always going to be this slow. As an aside, it is very good to be reminded of the horrible crimes perpetrated on family…..Catch this guy!!!

  28. Leighna Fodil says:

    I was excited to watch the new version of Americans most wanted,,,, But I was very disappointed, it’s too slow, it’s very boring.

    • Leighna Fodil says:

      I forget to say there was no dynamic. I will try again next week but if it is the same I will not watch it anymore.

  29. Debra Palmer says:

    Welcome Back John Welch!!!

  30. Debra Palmer says:

    Hope they get this guy soon! Hopefully someone watching this show will help to capture him!

  31. Rose says:

    Too many commercial breaks. Story takes up 24 minutes. The rest of the hour length program is commercials. Disappointed!

  32. faye says:

    John Walsh great to have you back!!! Keep getting the bad guys

  33. Jane says:

    the Hunt got exactly 12 minutes of my time….boring. Too slow. Back to “Columbo” reruns…..we were big fans of Most Wanted in its original format….not after they started making each snippet longer or profiling overseas suspects

  34. Jean says:

    Walsh is an A$$. He only uses the status of his son’s murder to profit from it. He loves to go after predators, when he is one himself. He even laughs that he would have been classified as a Sex Offender today if our laws were the same as they are today, when he was dating his wife, whom was underage…

  35. says:

    Hello my name is daniel, i dont want to b in the limelight or media, but i have a serious problem in everett wa concerning my daughters rape and how my daughter was a victim of 5 men from mexico. My story involve police n threats on my life from preditors next door. I live in fear each day. Drugs child trafficing. I wrote to doj n white house Im poor n cant affird legal help. Good luck with the show lets get the bad guys !!!

  36. Oh look, it’s the vigilante criminal who is still making money on his sons (suspiciously unsolved) homocide.

    Wonder which one of the stalking, privacy invading frauds came up with the idea to call it “The Hunt”.

    • Dave says:

      Hey look its the reply of someone who is a complete ass. You should pray, you never experience such a ordeal. Go look in the mirror and ask yourself if you could walk in his shoes, face what he did, and end up where he is, you can’t so shut up ass.

  37. Valigator says:

    Great have missed him

  38. jsanjuan1967 says:

    I like to know that domestic violence ended in tragedy. How could they should be punished for those horrible crimes?

    Sent from my iPad

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