America's Most Wanted
America's Most Wanted is a long-running TV show produced
by 20th Century Fox and running on Fox that profiles fugitives wanted for
violent crimes, often including those currently on the FBI's Ten Most
Wanted list. The fugitives' crimes include rape, white collar crime,
murder, armed robbery, gang violence, terrorism, drug trafficking, and
The host of the show, John Walsh, started it in the aftermath of the
1981 kidnapping and murder of his seven-year-old son, Adam Walsh. The show
began profiling missing persons, especially children, in 1991. As of 2005,
853 fugitives have been captured and 42 missing children have been
returned alive to their families. Among the most famous examples is John
List, a mass murderer who was on the run for 18 years, but was captured on
June 1, 1989, less than a week after his case was broadcast.
Running since February 7, 1988, the show was cancelled for a month and
a half in 1996, but protests from the public, law enforcement, and even
government officials brought it back with the new title America's Most
Wanted: America Fights Back.
The show expanded its focus to also cover alleged terrorists when, on
October 12, 2001 an episode aired featuring 22 most wanted men considered
to be terrorists by the United States. The show was put together due to a
request by Karl Rove, who had made Bush Jr. present the same list of men
to the nation two days earlier.