Tamron Hall tackles true crime in new Court TV series ‘Someone They Knew’

Show debuts March 6 at 9 p.m.

Tamron Hall, journalist and syndicated talk show host, is a true-crime veteran. For several years, she hosted “Deadline: Crime” on the ID channel.

Now she has joined Atlanta-based Court TV for a new show focused on heinous murders committed by those close to the victim called “Someone They Knew” debuting at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 6.

“While random violent crime gets a lot of headlines, I am particularly fascinated by those perpetuated in a tight circle,” said Hall, whose syndicated talk show is seen weekdays at 3 p.m. in Atlanta on WSB-TV.

Sadly, her older sister was murdered by someone she knew in 2014. The crime remains unsolved but her family thinks they know who did it. “I believe what we were told by police likely happened,” she said.

The first episode of “Someone They Knew” airing Sunday will feature the case of Lance Herndon, a charming, successful Atlanta tech executive murdered in 1996. The case coincidentally was also featured as the first episode of Oxygen’s “The Real Murders of Atlanta” less than seven weeks ago.

In fact, Fulton County prosecutor Clint Rucker and author Ron Stodghill, who wrote a book on the case titled “Redbone,” appear in both episodes. (Oxygen did get exclusive access to Herndon’s son while Court TV nabbed two Herndon defense attorneys and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporters Nedra Rhone and Steve Visser.)

But their approaches are very different. Having access to Court TV’s extensive archives meant Hall’s episode provided video of the crime scene, video of an interrogation of a prime suspect as well as video from what would end up being two trials, all of which Oxygen lacked.

This is going to be the case across the entire series. As a result, the series doesn’t need much in the way of re-enactments, a staple of most true crime series.

Hall’s episode also spends far more time than the Oxygen one on the trial side. Rucker had to rely heavily on circumstantial evidence since he lacked an eyewitness and a murder weapon. He instead had to focus on motive, opportunity and some physical DNA evidence.

“It’s a fascinating story,” Hall said. “Lance Herndon was this quintessential Atlanta businessman, recognized in the business world and the political world. I’ve heard so many people, particularly African American people, I’m going to Atlanta to make it.”

She also later in the season tackles the 2000 murder case of Derwin Brown, who’d just defeated Sheriff Sidney Dorsey for DeKalb County’s top law enforcement position. Dorsey became a primary suspect. “Politics is a dirty game but this level of violence and criminal behavior is rare,” she noted.

In every case, Hall said she pored over the scripts to ensure the victims are given proper due. “I am hypervigilant when it comes to language and how we present victims. Is that the most sensitive way we can say that?” she said.

She also recently wrote a new novel called “As the Wicked Watch” and is enjoying strong success with her talk show, now in its third season and guaranteed a fourth and fifth. (She won a Daytime Emmy for best talk show host in 2020.)

Hall has found some fascinating stories of late, including an interview with Tess Holliday, a plus-sized model who said she had anorexia. “I’ve covered a lot of stories,” she said. “I’ve never had a conversation like that before.”

And Hall goes out of her way to ensure Black and brown people who go missing are not ignored on her show. It’s also the subject of her novel.

“I hope all this attention will create systemic change,” she said.

Hall is also glad to be a second Black woman currently with her own solo daytime talk show, joining Wendy Williams, who recently had to step down due to health reasons. (Williams is being effectively replaced by Sherri Shepherd.)

“That was heartbreaking news about Wendy,” Hall said. “I hope she can come back at some point.”

ON TV

“Someone They Knew With Tamron Hall,” 9 p.m. Sunday, March 6, on Court TV