Fox-TV has taken President Bush up on his request and will produce a special edition of "America's Most Wanted" -- throwing the light of publicity on Osama bin Laden and his terrorist cronies.
John Walsh, the show's host, told the New York Times that White House aide Scott Sforza called him on Tuesday and told him that administration staffers had come up with the idea during a brainstorming session at the White House.
"He told me they were sitting around a table talking about how the American public is frustrated, angry and heartbroken, and want to do something, and `America's Most Wanted' does something," said Walsh.
He said the White House hoped his collaboration would not only help law enforcement agencies, but also relieve Americans' thirst for vengeance, according to the Times.
"The evidence is clear that the show catches criminals," said James Wilkensen, the deputy White House communications director. "The show can be of help in the president's desire to bring the terrorists to justice."
According to the newspaper, White House officials contacted News Corp. president and CEO Peter Chernin and asked him to find time for the special broadcast after they learned that Fox had pre-empted the next three episodes of the show to make room for Major League Baseball playoffs.
The "America's Most Wanted" special airs Friday night (at 9 ET), replacing the new drama "Pasadena," which has gotten off to a less than spectacular start in the ratings.
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is saying "no thanks" to a Saudi prince's $10 million.
Apparently he didn't like the guy's comments about U.S. foreign policy.
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud --- listed by Forbes magazine as the sixth wealthiest man in the world -- attended a memorial service at Ground Zero Thursday, exactly one month after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. He gave Giuliani a check for $10 million for the Twin Towers Fund, a fund started by the mayor to aid the families of city workers who lost a family member at the World Trade Center.
But then Alwaleed's aide handed out a statement to reporters. In it, the prince said the United States should examine "some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack," such as its policy in the Middle East.
Giuliani called the statement "highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous." In his words: "There is no justification for (the attacks). The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered four or five thousand innocent people and to suggest that there's a justification for it only invites this happening in the future."
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
Some 250,000 people are expected this weekend in the "Pumpkin Capital of the World" to pay homage to The Great Gourd as Half Moon Bay, Calif., celebrates its 31st annual Art and Pumpkin Festival.
The highlights will include the display of this year's winner of Monday's Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off --- a 1,016-pound behemouth grown by Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Oregon. Daletas drove the Volkswagen-sized gourd to the festival in the back of his pick-up truck --- eliciting stares, finger-pointing and waves from other motorists along the way.
The festival takes place Oct. 13-14 (from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT) on Half Moon Bay's Main Street.
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
Two suburban Chicago middle-school students are being held in juvenile detention for allegedly spiking their science teacher's coffee with hydrochloric acid.
The incident occurred Wednesday at K.D. Waldo Middle School in Aurora, Ill., after the teacher left a study hall briefly to monitor the hall.
He was preparing for his next class and had warned the girls about the dangers of hydrochloric acid before leaving them in the room. The 13-year-old girl allegedly acted as a lookout while the 12-year-old poured acid into the teacher's coffee mug, a school official said.
The 31-year-old teacher suffered mouth burns and spit out the coffee after taking a sip. He was treated at a local hospital and released.
The girls have been charged as juveniles with felony aggravated battery.
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
President Bush is asking "every child in America to earn or give a dollar" to help the children of Afghanistan, whom he says "are starving and are severely malnourished."
In an unusual final statement at the end of his first formal news conference Thursday evening, the president announced that the American Red Cross had set up a special fund for Afghan children.
"Their country has been through a great of war and suffering. Many children there are starving and are severely malnourished," Bush said. "One in three Afghan children is an orphan. Almost half suffer chronic malnutrition. And we can and must help them."
He called it "an opportunity to help others while teaching our own children a valuable lesson about service and character."
The president said children can send their dollar in an envelope marked "America's Fund For Afghan Children" to the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.