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Nancy Grace on 'DWTS': 'Thought I Was Being Punk'd'

Nancy Grace and her dance partner Tristan MacManus appear on ABC's Good Morning America. (ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- Nonstop coverage of the Casey Anthony trial was not the only thing keeping Nancy Grace busy this summer.

"I was en route to the courtroom, in the car, and at first I thought I was getting punk'd," Grace said Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America of the moment she got the call from producers asking her to join Season 13 of hit reality competition Dancing With the Stars.

"I thought someone had gotten my cell phone number and was kidding me about doing Dancing With the Stars while I was on my way to the 'tot mom' Casey Anthony trial," she said.

The HLN host spent the summer in the spotlight throwing ranting about Anthony, and later the jurors who in July found her not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Known for her tough talk and strong opinions, including saying "the devil is dancing" after the Anthony verdict was delivered, Grace, 51, has become one of the more controversial celebrities to join the show's cast.

Media critics, colleagues, and even fans, have questioned whether she can maintain her credibility while doing the cha-cha and tango before millions of TV viewers.

"The bottom line is all my money is going to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children," Grace said on GMA in response to criticism of her participation in the show. "I'm putting my money where my mouth is."

In addition to Grace, the star-studded celebrity line-up for the show's 13th season includes actor David Arquette, Chaz Bono, the transgender son of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher, fashion guru Carson Kressley, NBA champ Ron Artest, model Elisabetta Canalis, reality TV stars Kristin Cavallari and Rob Kardashian, talk show icon Ricki Lake, war veteran and actor J.R. Martinez, entertainer Chynna Phillips, and World Cup soccer star Hope Solo.

All 12 celebrities have begun training with their professional partners, learning either the cha cha or the Viennese Waltz for the show's two-hour season premiere, Monday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET.

The couple with the lowest combined judges' scores and public votes for their performance will be sent home in the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars: The Results Show, Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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