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NATPE 2010: CTD Sets 'Next-Gen' Format for 'Grace'

NATPE 2010: Complete Coverage From B&C

Swift Justice With Nancy Grace will represent a modern twist on the classic court show when the CBS Television Distribution (CTD) series debuts this fall. So says John Terenzio, executive producer of CTD's Judge Joe Brown, who has been named to the additional role of helming Nancy Grace.

Grace will not wear a robe or hold a gavel, and she won't be sitting on a dais in a wood-paneled courtroom. Instead, Grace's set will more closely resemble the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, Terenzio told B&C.

Technology is primarily what will evolve the program into a new kind of court show. “I've been doing this for a very long time, and I started thinking about what the next-generation court show should look like,” Terenzio said. “I'm a bit of a history buff, and I thought about how in the Old West, circuit judges would ride from town to town to hear cases. I thought, 'Why don't we do that, but in reverse? Why can't we bring America to us?'”

That's exactly what Terenzio will do, using technology such as Skype and videoconferencing as well as traditional but useful technology such as satellite hookups with local TV stations. In addition, Grace will consider all sorts of evidence as she weighs cases, using everything from DNA samples to lie detectors to criminal experts.

“People will bring us their cases, and then we'll decide whether they lend themselves to experts or other sorts of evidence,” Terenzio said.

The idea for Swift Justice was originally Terenzio's, and he brought that idea to Terry Wood, CTD's president of development and creative affairs. At the time, CTD and Wood were talking with Grace, HLN's legal expert, and considering developing a daytime vehicle for her.

“John Terenzio came to us with a terrific concept in Swift Justice, and we believe it's the perfect fit with Nancy's unique voice and personality,” Wood said.

Swift Justice With Nancy Grace is cleared in more than 90% of the country in two-year, all-barter deals with TV stations. The show will run in one-hour blocks of two 30-minute episodes. Grace will continue to do her primetime show on HLN; thus, Swift Justice will shoot in Atlanta, with pre- and post-production at CTD's studios in Los Angeles.