A+E Networks has secured an overall first-look development and production deal with Elizabeth Vargas, the Emmy Award-winning journalist and former ABC 20/20 presenter.
As part of the deal, Vargas will become the face of A&E’s newly minted non-fiction primetime journalistic banner ‘A&E Investigates’, which will offer a premium stable of unscripted series and specials that provide an unfiltered look at the untold stories of people and events in society that have a profound impact on our culture.
Vargas will work with A+E Networks to develop and produce new non-fiction programming through the newly launched non-fiction content development company A+E Originals, spearheaded by Paul Buccieri, president of A+E Networks Portfolio Group & A+E Studios.
The deal marks the second overall deal for A+E Originals, after the previously announced pact with Leah Remini.
Vargas, who has been co-hosting ABC’s 20/20 for 14 years, announced in December 2017 that she would be leaving the network this May, following the culmination of the investigative journalism and news magazine’s 40th season, to pursue new ventures.
“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 Elaine Frontain Bryant, EVP and head of programming at A&E Network, in a statement. “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.”
The first planned projects under the ‘A&E Investigates’ banner include Cults and Extreme Belief (9 x 60 minutes, The Intellectual Property Corporation; debuting May 28 at 10 p.m. ET/PT), which examines how controversial organizations use their influence to prey upon people’s desperation to create powerful and often destructive belief systems; and two-hour documentary The Plot Against America (Hot Snakes Media; debuts June 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT), which investigates the Russian enemy sleeper cells strategically placed throughout America.
Slated to premiere Summer 2018 is The Untitled Word of Faith Fellowship Project (w/t) from Collins Avenue, a 6 x 60-minute docuseries which follows the decades-long controversy surrounding the Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindle, North Carolina; and Sirens Media’s two-hour Child Brides (w/t), which premieres fall 2018 and investigates the stories of underage children forced into marriage in the U.S. and reveals the stories of child marriage victims who have escaped their dire circumstances.
A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for all projects under the ‘A&E Investigates’ banner.