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Elizabeth Vargas Inks Production Deal With A+E Networks to Front ‘A&E Investigates’ Banner

Elizabeth Vargas has planted her flag at A+E Networks, setting a production pact with the cable group that calls for her to front the new “A&E Investigates” banner.

Vargas will relocate to A+E Networks after she wraps her 14-year run as co-anchor of ABC News’ “20/20” newsmagazine next month. The “A&E Investigates” initiative is designed to bring investigative docu-series and specials to the company’s flagship cabler.

The first projects in the pipeline include a look at “Cults and Extreme Belief” and a series examining North Carolina’s controversial Word of Faith Fellowship Circle. A two-hour special tentatively titled “Child Brides,” about the surprisingly high number of girls under 18 who are forced into marriage in U.S., is also in the works. On May 28, Vargas will front a two-hour special, “Casey Anthony’s Parents Speak,” featuring an extended interview with the parents of the Florida woman who was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter in 2011.

Vargas will also develop programs through the new A+E Originals unit devoted to high-end unscripted programs. The deal with Vargas was spearheaded by Paul Buccieri, president of A+E Networks Portfolio Group & A+E Studios and A&E Network head of programming Elaine Frontain Bryant.

“This is the exact challenge I was looking for in the next chapter of my career,” said Vargas. “I’m grateful to Paul and Elaine for presenting me this amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The deal with Vargas comes as A+E Networks looks to expand the volume of in-house unscripted production through A+E Originals.

“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 Frontain Bryant.

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