Nancy Grace, the host of one of HLN’s most popular shows, announced Thursday that she is leaving the network after nearly 12 years.
“This fall, I’ll be leaving HLN, my longtime TV home, with a full heart and endless gratitude,” Grace, 56, said in a statement.
“The network has been my extended family for nearly a dozen years, and I am proud of the amazing work we’ve produced together.
“We created an unparalleled platform that gave crime victims a voice and succeeded in helping to find missing people and spotlight unsolved homicides.”
As a special prosecutor handling high-profile cases in Atlanta courts, the Macon, Georgia, native caught the attention of Court TV executives in the late 1990s who paired her with O.J. Simpson’s lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, for their own show, “Cochran and Grace.”
On the HLN show that bore her name she gained and fed a reputation as a strident advocate for crime victims, a passion that drove her to become a prosecutor after the murder of her fiance.
“Nancy has worked tirelessly on behalf of the missing and exploited for more than a decade on HLN,” CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz said in a statement. “She gave a voice to the voiceless, and we are extremely grateful for her contributions to the network.”
Her show is the most-watched program on HLN, CNN’s sister network, averaging 291,000 viewers in May, according to The New York Post.
She became noted for her coverage of the Casey Anthony trial, in which Anthony was acquitted of the murder of her young daughter Caylee.
Grace, who famously dubbed Anthony “tot mom,” was in near tears as she reported the verdict. “Somewhere out there, the devil is dancing tonight,” she said.
Her dramatic and often over-the-top rants about murderers and child abusers and bad guys of all ilk made her easy pickings for parody at the hands of “Saturday Night Live,” “Funny or Die” and the general public who made YouTube videos about her.
In 2009 she told CNN she didn’t mind that people mocked her.
“It’s very flattering that they would think enough to make fun of me,” she said. “I want Eminem to make fun of me, but I don’t think it would be very nice.”
Grace did not give specifics about what she plans to do next. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news of her departure, she suggested that her next project wold involve TV and digital.
“My plan is to merge those two in an effective way, in my voice, the ‘anti-crime’ voice,” she told THR.
“Our show has never really been about me. It has been about the stories that we tell and the people we talk about and the mysteries we try to solve and the children we try to bring home. There’s an entire section of our population that I want to reach.”