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In this series, John Walsh, the father of a murdered child hosts this show that illustrates crime stories which have lead to the capture of hundreds of fugitives from the law. With as much luridness and accuracy as possible, various crimes are dramatically recreated with an appeal for any viewer with information as to the crime and the perpetrators to call the show and the authorities and help the cause of justice. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
America's Most Wanted began as a mid-season replacement in early 1988, and now, twenty-one years later, it shows no sign of slowing down. To date, more than one thousand fugitives profiled on the show have been caught (or, in some cases, found deceased).
It is interesting to note that John Walsh wasn't the only person who was approached about hosting AMW. A number of actors were also considered, including: Treat Williams and Theresa Saldana. True crime author/former detective Joseph Wambaugh was another candidate for the job. However, the studio wanted John Walsh, apparently because he had the credibility they were looking for; the 1981 abduction and murder of his son Adam turned him into an activist, which resulted in the passage of laws that required law enforcement agencies to become more involved in the search for missing persons.
Walsh was reluctant at first, but the case of a fugitive named David James Roberts finalized his decision to host the show. A few days after the AMW pilot aired in February 1988, Roberts, who murdered four people (including two small children) became the show's first capture. Walsh was admittedly nervous during the taping of the pilot, and it was evident.
I still remember the day in 1996 when Fox announced its decision to cancel America's Most Wanted. This surprise announcement prompted viewers (including myself), law enforcement agencies, politicians, and government officials to protest the decision. The public outcry resulted in the show returning to the air in November 1996, after being off the air for six weeks. The day AMW was reinstated was a great day.
The show airs on Saturday nights. Although we have reached the era where Saturday is generally one of the least watched nights for prime-time television, America's Most Wanted continues to be a durable and consistently watched television program.
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