Nancy Grace had much to lose and even more to gain with her exhaustive coverage and her very spirited condemnation of the not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. And even as one may wonder what else can be said on the proceedings, HLN prepares to go into a marathon of Grace’s coverage this weekend. Thankfully for Grace, it will contain mostly repeat airings of her reports as she says she’s feeling the wear and tear of being immersed in the case.
Television networks battled on Wednesday for interviews with the jurors and lawyers in the Casey Anthony case — while emphasizing that they would not pay for the interviews.
Nielsen said 4.58 million people were watching HLN between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET Tuesday. That’s the largest audience that HLN has gathered since it began in 1982 as CNN Headline News.
Shortly after the jury’s decision was announced Tuesday, one of Anthony’s lawyers, Cheney Mason, said he hoped the verdict was a lesson to those who had “indulged in media assassination” during the three years between 2-year-old Caylee Anthony’s disappearance and her mother’s acquittal for murder. Mason did not mention anyone by name, but his remarks seemed aimed at Nancy Grace of the HLN network, which has seen its fortunes soar with extensive coverage of the trial.
Hearst’s NBC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., didn’t just blow out its schedule to capture all aspects of the trial of the woman accused of killing her daugher, but also launching a 99-cent iPhone app for trial updates. And at a time when even the strongest newspapers and broadcasters typically offer their apps for free, WESH’s paid app appears to be a big success. It reached the top spot in paid iPhone news apps over the weekend, and it’s currently residing at the No. 2, ahead of popular apps like Instapaper.
As perverse as it may sound, the Casey Anthony trial is the kind of news event that TV executives dream of. Three years in the making, the trial — in which 25-year-old Anthony is accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee — has gone from being a newsworthy case to one of the biggest ratings draws in recent memory.