By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Thursday, June 30, 2016
Nancy Grace announced today she’s leaving Atlanta-based HLN after 12 years when her contract is up in October.
She’s the more recognizable face on HLN and helped the network redefine itself from its old “Headline News” offerings to its current mish mosh of news, opinion and repeats of “Forensic Files.”
“This fall, I’ll be leaving HLN, my longtime TV home, with a full heart and endless gratitude,” Grace said in a statement Thursday. “The network has been my extended family for nearly a dozen years, and I am proud of the amazing work we’ve produced together.”
Grace, 56, broke the news Thursday morning to her staff of 18 — some of whom have been working with her since the late 1990s, when she got her start co-hosting on Court TV with the late Johnnie Cochran — at the network’s CNN Center headquarters in Atlanta, where Grace shoots the majority of her shows. New York-based staffers learned of her departure simultaneously via video conference call.
The former prosecutor, who airs at 8 p.m. on weekdays, has been a tireless advocate for victims after her fiance was murdered when she was 19. On HLN, she covered the Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias trials with her signature brio. Her peak ratings came when she read the trial results of the Anthony trial in 2011, drawing 4.57 million viewers.
Her show brought in an average of 291,000 viewers in May, ranking 42nd among cable news programs.
“We created an unparalleled platform that gave crime victims a voice and succeeded in helping to find missing people and spotlight unsolved homicides,” she said in her statement.
Grace’s boss and CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz, in a statement, said: “She gave a voice to the voiceless and we are extremely grateful for her contributions to the network.”
She wouldn’t tell the Hollywood Reporter what her plans are next but there will be no hiatus and whatever she does will have “a very large digital component.”
Her carefully coiffed hair and fierce, no-holds-barred approach made her an easy satirical target. Amy Poehler on “Saturday Night Live” used to do a hilarious version of her. Other notable copycats included Gracie Jane on “Boston Legal” and Ellen Abbott in the film “Gone Girl.”
HLN has no specifics yet on what show will replace Grace in the important 8 p.m. slot this fall. The network is adding two new shows in the near future, neither of which is based in Atlanta. First up will be Michaela Pereira, who will air a show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST out of Los Angeles starting July 11. This fall, former CNN and HLN host Erica Hill will return for an afternoon show based out of New York.
For both CNN and HLN, on-air talent has steadily migrated out of CNN Center to New York and elsewhere.