High tech drives ‘America’s Most Wanted’ and new host Elizabeth Vargas

Longtime Fox staple series is back and updated

Elizabeth Vargas

Elizabeth Vargas is glad to be wanted by “America’s Most Wanted.”

The NBC and ABC news veteran, who also has done A&E Network documentaries, has succeeded John Walsh in hosting FOX’s current Monday incarnation of the reality series that seeks the public’s help in catching felons. The show’s new high-tech sheen acknowledges up-to-date forms of surveillance … which even can include personal smartphones, devices that weren’t as commonly available to viewers during much of the program’s original run.

“It’s so cool what we can do with technology today,” the pleasant Vargas confirms, “and that’s brand-new on this show because these are all advances that weren’t around back then. At this point in my career, it’s really nice to be challenged by something new, because I spent a lot of years doing what I did.”

Though she acknowledges “America’s Most Wanted” is a largely pandemic-safe show because she alone is the central cast, Vargas notes the FBI and Secret Service agents and federal marshals who come in as experts. “We also have some of the victims of the crimes on the set,” she adds, “and we’re all going through the rigorous safety procedures that are set up for any and every show going on the air now.”

Still, Vargas believes a revival of “America’s Most Wanted” is particularly suited to the current times: “We know that a lot of people are watching a lot of television, and somebody has seen something or knows somebody who has seen something. That’s what we’re hoping to tap into. We have the capacity not to just put a great television show on the air, but also to do some good.”

Elizabeth Vargas

Birthdate: Sept. 6, 1962

Birthplace: Paterson, N.J.

Current residence: New York

Marital status: Divorced; has two children

Other television work includes: “The Untold Story,” “Graves,” “Designated Survivor,” “Scandal,” “20/20,” “ABC World News Tonight,” “Good Morning America,” “Primetime Monday,” “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Dateline NBC,” “Now With Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric,” WBBM-TV (Chicago), KTVK-TV (Phoenix), KTVN-TV (Reno, Nev.)

On “America’s Most Wanted” being a homecoming of sorts: “Many of the people working on this new iteration, I’ve worked with in the past at different networks. We have an enormously talented crew, and to be honest, it’s nice to be working with not completely new faces but a mix. Having some people that I know and trust and love to work with is really great.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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