An ex-prosecuting attorney turned talk show host, Ellen Abbott is the vicious front woman of Ellen Abbott Live, a cable show that caters to the stories of women who have been killed, kidnapped, and abused.
The show is more exploitation TV than hard news—Ellen picks up Amy's story, she has Shawna Kelly, the woman who flirted with Nick during the search party, as her guest, and condemns Nick on air in a biting rant that all but accuses him of murder. "I'm sorry, Shawna," she says as Shawna's infamous selfie with Nick from the search for Amy flashes on the screen. "This photo is just… I don't know a better word than disgusting. This is not how an innocent man looks" (21.51). And that, Shmoopsters, is what legal folks call speculation.
While the show plays a relatively minor role in the story, Ellen Abbott is the first time Nick's story makes its way into the national consciousness. It's also the way Amy finds out about how her plan's unfolding from her cabin in the Ozarks. "I adore Ellen Abbott," Amy tells us. "I love how protective and maternal she gets about all the missing women on her show, and how rabid-dog vicious she is once she seizes on a suspect, usually the husband" (34.4). Clearly Ellen Abbott is more than a television host—she's an integral part of Amy's plan to bring Nick down.
P.S. Does Ellen remind you of a certain TV personality? Yeah, she's got a lot of Nancy Grace in her.