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Nancy Grace To Leave HLN When Her Contract Expires This Fall


Nancy Grace is nearing the end of her run on TV's HLN channel. The onetime prosecutor plans to rest her case this fall. Here's NPR's David Folkenflik.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Before she says a word, Nancy Grace is instantly memorable, even for a cable TV anchor. She favors big hair, leather jackets and plenty of makeup and then there's that blooming prosecutorial voice by way of her native Georgia.


NANCY GRACE: When you look at tot mom Casey Anthony, it's almost as if the mind is tricking the eye because you hear this damning evidence about her.

FOLKENFLIK: Grace focuses on the victims of violent crime and the missing.


GRACE: Did mommy booze it up and kill her baby?


GRACE: I just don't believe that her father, a former cop, dumped Kelly's body out in a makeshift pet cemetery in the woods.


GRACE: Why aren't you telling us and giving us a clear picture of where you were before your son was kidnapped?

FOLKENFLIK: That woman killed herself a day after that interview with Grace. Grace told ABC News that the mother's guilt led to her death, not the prime-time scorn Grace heaped upon her. Another woman also committed suicide several weeks after Grace savaged her on the air.

Grace declined comment yesterday, but told me for a story broadcast last year that she is relentless on behalf of victims.


GRACE: I - look, I didn't go into this to win a popularity contest. I did not expect to be crowned Miss Congeniality. OK? And if that's what I was looking for, I would have gone into a different line of business.

FOLKENFLIK: Grace enrolled at law school and became a hard-nosed prosecutor after the murder of her fiance. She won a string of convictions and also rebukes from both the Georgia Supreme Court and a federal appellate judge for unethical behavior.

After the O.J. Simpson murder case, she landed a show on Court TV with Simpson's lead attorney, the late Johnnie Cochran, and soon moved on to host her own program. By 2005, she moved to Headline News, the precursor to HLN.

Grace became a frequent figure of satire and caricature. The actress Missi Pyle has played characters based on her in the movies and on television.


MISSI PYLE: The word justice is constantly something that she is thinking and - or saying, and it's just the idea of finding righteousness or the justice for those who can't speak for themselves.

FOLKENFLIK: Justice perhaps, but not much in the way of subtlety. And even less in the way of compassion for those accused.

Lin Wood is a prominent Atlanta lawyer. He went to the same law school as Grace, though some years earlier.

LIN WOOD: Nancy has clearly established herself as probably the nation's leading advocate for the theory that she's never met an innocent person.

FOLKENFLIK: Lin Wood represented the man wrongly accused in the Atlanta Olympic bombings and the parents of Jonbenet Ramsey who were also suspected, but never charged in their daughter's death.

WOOD: She advocates so strongly for the perceived victims that there is obviously the potential for some prejudice to someone who is either accused or under investigation.

FOLKENFLIK: In recent years. ratings for Grace's show have declined. Grace announced she would not stay on after her contract expired this fall. She told the trade publication the Hollywood Reporter that she intends to keep doing a version of her show on TV with a major digital component. David Folkenflik, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.