Laura Ling to host E! show

Freed journalist to cover 'serious side of pop culture'

Entertainment channel E! has hired Laura Ling, who was detained with a Current TV colleague in North Korea last year, to host hour-long series "E! Investigates" starting Dec. 8, which takes a look at the hard news side of pop culture, the New York Times reported.

The network has previously commissioned episodes of "E! Investigates." Ling will explore such topics as teen suicide and the lives of military wives on the show.

Ted Harbert, CEO of Comcast's Comcast Entertainment Group, of which E! is part, told the Times that the network is trying to also cover the "serious side of pop culture."

Ling, 33, told the Times she was thrilled to get a chance to reach a younger audience with serious topics, while staying "a little bit closer to home" after having a daughter in June.