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ABC News president Ben Sherwood announced the hire on Wednesday morning in a memo to staff. Smith will serve as a New York-based correspondent and legal analyst. The deal sees Smith getting exposure across platforms of the Disney-owned operation, with appearances on ESPN in addition to ABC News’ wide array of broadcast network offerings.
“Ryan reported on a wide range of stories for HLN, including the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Superstorm Sandy and the 2013 presidential inauguration,” said Sherwood. “Plus, he’s covered some of the most high-profile trials in recent memory, including those of Casey Anthony, Conrad Murray, George Zimmerman and Jodi Arias.”
Since the axing of Evening Express, along with a slew of other HLN programs, the veteran of the CNN sister network continued to co-host HLN After Dark.
Ryan begins his new position with ABC News in January, and Sherwood noted that his legal expertise will complement that of Dan Abrams, who is chief legal affairs anchor and Nightline anchor.
Evening Express‘ cancelation is part of what looks to be a larger plan to rebrand HLN under Jeff Zucker, with the CNN Worldwide president plotting a move away from wall-to-wall courtroom coverage.
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