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Maria Shriver to Return to NBC News as Special Contributor

Kennedy family member to offer reporting on role of women in U.S.

NBC News veteran Maria Shriver is returning after a long, self-imposed absence.

The NBCUniversal unit said Shriver, who left in 2003 when her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, ran for governor of California and won, will serve as a special anchor reporting on the evolution of women’s roles in modern society.

NBC News said Shriver will contribute a series of special projects that could take the form of primetime reports and appearances across various NBCUniversal outlets, including NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and NBC Sports. She will also serve as an editor at large for topics related to women’s issues across NBC News’ digital properties, working with personnel to expand appropriate content and news programming.

Shriver will remain based in Los Angeles and continue to produce other television, film, book and live event projects under the auspices of her own production company, NBC News said.

As part of the pact, NBC News will have exclusive broadcast access to “Shriver Reports,” a series of multiplatform investigations Shriver commissions into the status of American women and their role in key U.S. issues. The next Shriver Report, to be released in early 2014, will address the rise of financial insecurity among American women and families.

NBCUniversal has over the last several years organized programming and content around specific topics, such as the environment, women, Hispanic issues and health, and then attempted to sell advertising opportunities around them. In 2009, for example, NBC put together a forum of leading female business executives and NBC talent, including former Ogilvy & Mather topper Shelly Lazarus and actress Tori Spelling, to advise sponsors on how to reach women more successfully.

Shriver previously was an anchor and correspondent for NBC News from 1986 until 2004. She won a Peabody Award for a special report on single mothers and welfare prepared for NBC’s “Dateline.”

Shriver made a surprise appearance on “Today” in March – live from the Vatican – to contribute a story about the newly-named Pope. She has also  appeared on “Dateline” and as a guest editor in 2009 for a series of reports on the state of women in the U.S. She also made an on-air appearance in 2009 to talk about the death of her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy.

She and Schwarzenegger separated after the now-former governor confirmed he had fathered a child outside their marriage. She has filed for divorce, but it has not been legally formalized.

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