2:17pm PT by Jeremy Barr
ABC News Journalist Elizabeth Vargas Signs Overall Deal With A+E Networks
Elizabeth Vargas, whose long tenure at ABC News wraps up next month, has inked an overall development and production deal with A+E Networks that will make her the face of new investigative banner A&E Investigates.
"Utilizing Vargas’ deep background in investigative reporting, the collection of premium nonfiction series and specials will take an unfiltered look at the often unseen stories of people and events in our society, that although relatively unknown, have a profound impact on our culture," the network said Wednesday in a release.
Vargas, who has been co-hosting ABC's 20/20 for 14 years, will leave the network at the end of May, when the show's 40th season concludes. When her departure was announced in December, ABC News president James Goldston said the veteran journalist was leaving to pursue "new ventures."
As part of her new deal, Vargas will work with A+E Networks to develop and produce new nonfiction programming by way of the newly launched nonfiction content development company A+E Originals.
"This is the exact challenge I was looking for in the next chapter of my career,” Vargas said in a statement.
One of Vargas' projects will be a nine-episode series called Cults and Extreme Belief that will delve into the cults that are currently operating in the country, including the NXIVM organization. Other A&E Investigates projects in development include a two-hour documentary about national security, a two-hour special on child brides and a six-episode series about a secretive church in North Carolina.
Prior to co-hosting 20/20, Vargas' tenure at ABC News included stints as co-anchor of World News Tonight, anchor of World News Tonight Sunday and anchor/co-host of Good Morning America.
"Elizabeth is a brave storyteller and one of the most trusted journalists who is an expert at bringing audiences closer to the heart of stories that have never been told in order to reveal genuine moments of truth,” said A&E head of programming Elaine Frontain Bryant. “Her honest and authentic brand is the perfect fit for our audience that always seeks the truth, and we are fortunate that she chose A+E Networks as her new home.”