- America's Most Wanted
show_name = America's Most Wanted
rating = TV-PG (some), TV-14 (some)
runtime = 60 minutes
Don LaFontaine"(teaser announcer)"
country = USA
network = FOX
February 7, 1988
last_aired = Present
num_episodes = 941
website = http://www.amw.com/
imdb_id = 0094415
tv_com_id = 2939
"America's Most Wanted" is an American TV show produced by
20th Century Fox, and is the longest-running program of any kind in the history of the Fox Television Network. Its purpose is to profile and assist law enforcement in the apprehension of fugitives wanted for various crimes, including murder, rape, child molestation, white collar crime, armed robbery, gang violence, and terrorismmany of whom are currently on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitiveslist. On May 2, 2008, the program's website announced its 1,000th capture.
The idea for America’s Most Wanted originally came from a German show "
Aktenzeichen XY... ungelöst" (ger. "file number XY... unsolved") that first aired in 1967, and the British show " Crimewatch", first aired in 1984, with the US version conceived by then-Fox executive Stephen Chaoand Executive Producer Michael Linderin the summer of 1987. It premiered on February 7, 1988on seven Fox-owned stations. Within four days of the first broadcast, FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive David James Robertswas captured as a direct result. He was a convicted killer who had recently escaped from prison by digging his way out with a small axe. This demonstrated the effectiveness of the show's "Watch Television, Catch Criminals" premise to skeptical law enforcement agencies. Ten weeks later, the program premiered nationwide on the Fox network and became the fledgling network's first hit series. Since its debut, it has become the longest-running series on the Fox Network. "America's Most Wanted" reinvented the economics of prime timetelevision with its low-budget reenactments of crimes. A typical hour of prime time programming in 1988 cost $1 million to produce. "AMW"'s initial budget was much lower than that, but the show's reality-style format and nearly instantaneous captures (some fugitives were captured before the episode's final credits rolled) contributed to its success.
After the program’s pilot aired, a lengthy search was conducted, and
John Walshwas selected as the host of the show. Walsh gained publicity after his six-year-old son, Adam Walsh, was kidnapped and murdered in 1981, and he parlayed that into the creation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Other potential candidates included former Marine Corps Commandant General P.X. Kellyand victims' advocate Theresa Saldana.
The show began profiling missing persons, especially children, in 1991. Some of the most notorious captures include
John List, the Texas Seven, and the abductors of Elizabeth Smart, Brian Mitchelland Wanda Barzee. On May 2, 2008, the AMW website announced their 1,000th capture; a New York City Realtornamed Dwight Smith, who was captured more than a week earlier.
The show was canceled for a month and a half in the fall of 1996 when Fox decided to air a Saturday night sitcom block consisting of "
Married… with Children", "Martin" and two new series: "Love and Marriage" and " The Preston Episodes". However, protests from the public, law enforcement, and government officials, including the governors of 37 states, as well as low ratings for the shows replacing "AMW" encouraged Fox to bring the show back. "Martin" and "Married… with Children" were moved back to Sundays. Producers rechristened the show "America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back". Since this time, the AMW/COPS combination has made Saturday evening Fox’s most stable night, along with the longest unchanged primetime schedule on American television currently.
The show expanded its focus to also cover criminals in the
War on Terrorismwhen, on October 12, 2001an episode aired featuring 22 most wanted al-Qaedaoperatives. The show was put together due to a request by President George W. Bush, who had presented the same list of men to the nation two days earlier. In October 2002, the show did a special episode focusing on the serial sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C.area.
In the new millennium, America’s Most Wanted has seen continued success. Currently in its 22nd season, AMW has reported over 1000 captures.
The show usually ends with John Walsh saying, "...and remember, you can make a difference", or, on occasion, "...and remember, you do make a difference."
On the last week of January 2001, after AMW had helped capture the
Texas 7along with a large number of other wanted fugitives, Walsh concluded with, "You really made a difference."
Local Versions of "AMW"
*On Fox 2 (
KTVI), St. Louis, Missouri, they run "St. Louis's Most Wanted" every Saturday night at their 9PM newscast, after "AMW".
*On Fox 2 (
WJBK-TV, Detroit, Michigan), They run "Michigan's Most Wanted" every Saturday night at their 10:00 newscast.
*On Fox 5 (
WAGA-TV, Atlanta, Georgia), a "Georgia's Most Wanted" segment airs on their Saturday 10:00pm newscast. "Georgia's Most Wanted" segments were hosted by Angeline Hartmann prior to joining America's Most Wanted as a correspondent.
*On Fox 5 (
WNYW-TV, New York, New York), They periodically air segment "New York's Most Wanted" during their 10:00 newscast after AMW.
*On Fox 5 (
WTTG-TV, Washington D.C.), They run "D.C.'s Most Wanted" every Saturday night at their 10:00 newscast.
*On Fox 6 (
WITI-TV, Milwaukee, Wisconsin), a segment called "Wisconsin's Most Wanted" is aired during the Saturday 9 p.m. newscast, following the airing of America's Most Wanted. This segment is produced similarly to a single story from AMW, and normally lasts 5 to 10 minutes.
*On Fox 8 (
WGHP-TV, High Point, North Carolina), they periodically air the feature "Piedmont's Most Wanted" on their 10:00 newscast after "AMW".
*On Fox 9 (
KECY-TV), Yuma, Arizona- El Centro, California), during commercial breaks, an ad with John Walsh mentioning the region's police shows someone wanted being mentioned by an announcer. An another ad by Walsh directs viewers to the station's website for more wanted criminals. Unlike other FOX stations, who usually air similar spots either after the news or "AMW", they air throughout the day, as the station has no newscast.
*On Fox 11 (
KTTV-TV, Los Angeles, California), They periodically air a feature "L.A.'s Most Wanted" on their 10:00 news after "AMW", it is presented by Tony Valdez.
*On Fox 13 (
KCPQ-TV, Seattle, Washington), They run "Seattle's Most Wanted" every Saturday night at their 10:00 newscast.
*On Fox 13 (
KSTU-TV, Salt Lake City, Utah), a "Utah's Most Wanted" feature airs periodically on the 9:00 newscast, particularly after "AMW" airs.
*On Fox 14 (
KCIT, Amarillo, Texas), The Amarillo Crimestoppers fugitive of the week is featured every Saturday Night on the KCIT FOX 14 News @ 9 After "America's Most Wanted".
*On Fox 17 (
KDSM-TV, Des Moines, Iowa) They run a short spot during the commercials of "America's Most Wanted" called "Metro's Most Wanted" featuring one locally wanted fugitive. The spot lasts about 25-40 seconds.
*On Fox 17 (
WXMI-TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan) They air a segment during their 10:00 newscast after "AMW" called " West Michigan's Most Wanted"
*On Fox 23 (
WXXA-TV, Albany, New York), They air a segment during their 10:00 newscast after "AMW" called "Capital Region's Most Wanted"
*On Fox 25 (
WFXT-TV, Boston, Massachusetts), They periodically air a feature "Massachusetts Most Wanted" on their 10:00 news after "AMW".
* On Fox 25 (
KOKH-TV, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), Oklahoma's Most Wanted every Saturday night during the FOX 25 news @ 9:00 pm.
*On Fox 26 (
KMPH-TV, Fresno, California), a segment called "Central Valley's Most Wanted" airs during their Saturday 10 p.m. newscast after "AMW".
*On Fox 29 (
WTXF-TV, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania),Philadelphia's Most Wanted every Saturday night during the FOX 29 news @ 9:00 pm.
* On Fox 31 (
KDVR-TV, Denver, Colorado), a "Colorado's Most Wanted" segment airs on the 9:00 pm. newscast, after "AMW"
* On Fox Chicago (
WFLD-TV, Chicago, Illinois), a "Chicago's Most Wanted" segment airs on the 9:00 p.m. newscast.
*On Fox Toledo (
WUPW-TV, Toledo, Ohio), a "Toledo's Most Wanted" segment airs on Fox Toledo every Saturday night at 10:00 p.m.
* On Fox 40 (
KTXL-TV, Sacramento, California), a segment called "FOX 40 Crime Alert" airs Saturday Nights at 10:00 p.m. on Fox 40 News at 10 after "AMW".
*On Fox 41 (WDRB-TV,
Louisville, Kentucky) and My 58 (WMYO-TV, Louisville, Kentucky) a "Louisville's Most Wanted" segment airs sometimes during commercial breaks on both stations, especially during WDRB's newscasts.
*On Fox 50 (WRAZ,
Durham, North Carolina), an "NC Wanted" show airs at 10:35 P.M. after the 10:00 P.M. newscast in HDTV.
*On Fox 53 (
WPGH-TV, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), They run a segment called "Pittsburgh's Most Wanted" during their 10:00 newscast after AMW.
*On Fox 59 (
WXIN-TV, Indianapolis, Indiana), a "Indiana's Most Wanted" segment airs on their Saturday 10:00pm newscast.
Hotline number facts
When "America's Most Wanted" debuted, the show's original
toll-free hotlinenumber was 1-800-CRIME-88 (1-800-274-6388). The last 2 digits of the hotline number changed each year (1-800-CRIME-89, 1-800-CRIME-90, and so on) until 1995, when it was permanently changed to its current number, which is 1-800-CRIME-TV (1-800-274-6388), which, coincidentally, was what the number had originally been in 1988.
AMW Dirty Dozen
The AMW Dirty Dozen is a list of the most notorious fugitives that have been reviewed on the show that are currently at large. It is similar in function, though not analogous, to the
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitiveslist, though four of the Dirty Dozen are on the FBI's list.
These are the current Dirty Dozen. They are in order as presented on the AMW website; the list is not ranked.
Jason Derek Brownis wanted for killing an armored car driver and stealing $56,000 USD in front of a movie theater in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 29, 2004. He is charged in Phoenix with first-degree murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He is believed to be in either British Columbia, or Mexico. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=29538]
Paul Merle Eischeid, a member of the Hells Angels, is wanted for his part in killing a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in 2001. He is charged with first degree murder. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=27946] He was recently placed on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted List, and is additionally wanted for drug trafficking and RICO.
*Mark Everett, a former
child actorwhose roles included parts in " Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and " Stand and Deliver" , is wanted for murdering his former girlfriend, Stephanie Spears, and kidnapping their son, Benjamin, in Hawthorne, California, on Father's Day, June 20, 2004. The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=28521]
*Paul Erven Jackson is wanted in
Hillsboro, Oregon, for raping numerous teenage girls during the late 1980s and early 1990s. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=41948]
Alexis Floresis wanted for the kidnapping, rape and murder of seven-year-old Irina DeJesus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in July 2000. He is on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitiveslist. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=44983]
*Dan William Hiers Jr. is wanted for murdering his wife, Ludimila Hiers, in
Goose Creek, South Carolina, in March 2005. He is also wanted for sexually abusing a child in Charleston, South Carolina, shortly before. Hiers, a former police officer, is on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted List, and they are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his capture. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=30956]
Emigdio Preciado, Jr.is wanted for attempted murder in a brutal gang-related shooting of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Departmentdeputy Michael Schaap on September 5, 2000. He is on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. [http://media.amw.com/multimedia/fileRepository/db/458/250/Emigdio-Preciado-Med2.jpg]
*Elby Jessie Hars is wanted for sexually abusing young girls in
Columbia, South Carolina. He had previously served time for sexually abusing his own daughter, Terri Hars. Astonishingly, when he was released, she found young girls for him to abuse, leading to her going to prison. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=31974]
*Andre Neverson is wanted for the murders of his sister, Patricia Neverson, and his ex-girlfriend, Donna Davis, both in
Brooklyn, New York, in July 2002. He is also on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=26623]
*Greisy Valencia is wanted for viciously abusing her 11-year-old daughter in Hayward,
California. Valencia has been on the run since the girl's discovery on December 9, 2002. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=25676]
Robert William Fisheris wanted for killing his wife, Mary, and his children, Brittany and Bobby Jr., on April 10, 2001, and then burning down their house to try to cover up the crime. He is also on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He was considered to be AMW's Public Enemy Number 1. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=25245]
*Cesar Armando Laurean was wanted for
murder of Maria Lauterbachand unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in December 2007. Laurean is former United States Marine Corps Corporal whom Lauterbach had accused of rape. [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=52333] On 10 April, 2008, the FBI announced that Cesar Laurean had been apprehended in Mexico. [cite web|url=http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/FedCrimes/story?id=4631879&page=1|title=ABC News: Fugitive Marine Captured in Mexico|format=HTML|publisher=ABC News|accessdate=2008-04-11] He is currently awaiting extradition.
15 Seconds of Shame
15 Seconds of Shame is a segment (approximately one minute in length) where the show features four fugitives that are currently on the run, each in their own 15-second briefing. The run-up shows the charges against the fugitives, and where they might be. Aliases, tattoos and character quirks are also mentioned in the profiles.
Cases that are international or have some international connection
Many of the series' cases have some connection outside the
United Statesor have not taken place in the United States at all. The first show that aired after September 11, 2001was 2 hours and focused mainly on terrorism. The series' first international capture was in Nova Scotiain 1989.
The show's nature does not allow repeats, except for updates on convicted criminals, and is pre-empted a maximum of eight times during the year; three
NASCAR Sprint Cup Seriesraces, one Major League Baseballplayoff game, the World Series, and if necessary, one NFLplayoff game. However, if a fugitive featured on the show is not captured, their profile may be aired again.
A digest version of "America's Most Wanted" is distributed to radio stations Monday - Saturday through ABC Radio Networks at :15 min past the hour from 5AM to 2PM (eastern time). It keeps listeners up to date on the latest fugitive and missing persons/children cases nation wide.
The announcer heard on the show for over a decade was voice-over artist
Don LaFontaine, who died on September 1, 2008.
Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst, similar program in Germany, Austriaand Switzerland
Crimewatch, similar program in the United Kingdom
Police Report, similar program in Hong Kong
Linha Direta, similar program in Brazil
Efterlyst, similar program in Sweden
* [http://www.amw.com Official site]
* [http://www.amw.com/report_tip/ Report a Tip to AMW]
* [http://abcradionetworks.com/article.asp?id=363926 America's Most Wanted on ABC Radio]
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