Posted Thursday, March 29, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Nancy Grace, who voluntarily left the daily grind on HLN in 2016, is back on TV thanks to a new weekly A&E show where she faces off against her on-air "Good Morning America" nemesis Dan Abrams.
Naturally, the show is called "Grace vs. Abrams." Before a studio audience, the two discuss infamous cases such as Casey Anthony and Drew Peterson and bring in key witnesses and players from the original trials, sometimes unveiling fresh information.
For the first episode airing tonight and shot in an ABC studio off Times Square, the A&E producers brought in the judge who presided over the Anthony case, an alternate juror and a jail buddy of Anthony's to discuss Anthony's guilt or innocence over the death of her daughter in 2008. Grace back in the day dissected the case on dozens of HLN shows, derisively calling Anthony "tot mom."
When the jury decided Anthony was not guilty in 2011, Atlanta-based HLN generated its biggest ratings in history and Grace's show that night generated a record-breaking 2.9 million viewers.
While Abrams is known to support the defense, Grace is all about victim's rights and tends to favor the prosecution. They became well known duking it out during segments on "Good Morning America."
"Both Nancy and I were stunned by the verdict," Abrams said in the first episode, which was pre-taped and provided to reporters. "And we both believe she is responsible." But the two attorneys disagree over why the jury found her not guilty.
While the two personalities generate fireworks on air, they respect each other off air.
"Dan has an excellent legal mind paired with a charismatic on-air persona," Grace said in a recent interview. "That's a great combination." It has enabled him to be ABC's primary legal correspondent as well as host of A&E's popular weekly live cop series "Live PD."
"She's really quick-witted, which makes her really good," Abrams said. "And it's fair to say that Nancy probably insults me more than I insult Nancy. She pulls the zingers out!"
Indeed, she said it's different working side by side with Abrams rather than via satellite as she does on"GMA."
"It's a lot more exciting to be sitting next to him," Grace said, adding jokingly: "My fingers are now dangerously close to his neck."
While some of the cases may seem like a rehash, Abrams said that isn't the case.
Many of the guests the producers found were genuinely illuminating, he said. For instance, the second wife of convicted murderer Drew Peterson had never spoken about the case publicly before until now. "She's super compelling," he said.
"Drew Peterson has not been charged for his fourth wife's disappearance," Abrams notes. "There's been talk that could happen. It's not a dormant case. In the Chandra Levy case, it's unsolved. A lot of people have theories but I think it's important to be able to dig in."
Grace said she now has a new take on the Levy case after hearing new evidence uncovered during that particular episode.
A&E is giving them a six-episode test run. Abrams is optimistic.
"We never co-hosted a show before," he said. "We didn't do any practice rounds. We just got in there and it gelled."
"Grace vs. Abrams," 9 p.m. Thursday, starting March 29, 2018, A&E