Vargas Signs Overall Production Deal With A+E Networks

Elizabeth Vargas has signed an overall first-look and production deal with A+E Networks.

With the agreement in place, Vargas becomes the face of A&E Network’s new non-fiction primetime journalism programming, which will run under the A&E Investigates banner.

A&E Investigates will be comprised of series and specials that “take an unfiltered look at the often unseen stories of people and events in our society, that while relatively unknown, have a profound impact on our culture,” the company said.

Vargas will also be collaborating with A+E Networks to develop and produce new non-fiction programming through the company’s new non-fiction content development company A+E Originals.

A+E Originals will produce programming for the company’s networks, including Lifetime and History. A+E Originals previously announced an overall deal with Leah Remini.

A&E last year altered its strategy, getting out of the scripted programming business. Last month at its upfront presentation, A+E focused on storytelling it would be airing by powerful women including Remini, Marsha Clark and Queen Latifah.

“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 A&E Network executive VP and head of programming ElaineFrontain Bryant. “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.”

Vargas was co-host of ABC’s news magazine 20/20 and previously served as co-anchor of World News Tonight and World News Tonight Sunday. Before joining ABC, when was with NBC News where she was an anchor and correspondent for Dateline NBC and Today

Projects under the A&E Investigates umbrella are:

· Cults and Extreme Belief, a series that will start with a two-night premiere on May 28 and May 29. Vargas, alongside former members of controversial organizations, goes on a search to uncover how these sects use their influence to prey upon people’s desperation to create powerful and often destructive belief systems. 

· The Plot Against America, a special that premieres June 4. Beginning in 2001, a shift in counter-intelligence spending meant that the United States took its eye off the spy game while Russia continued to dedicate vast resources to developing their army of spies. This two-hour documentary investigates beyond the headlines and goes into the heart of our country to ask the question, is America safe?

· The Untitled Word of Faith Fellowship Project (working title), a series scheduled for summer 2018.This docu-series follows the decades-long controversy surrounding the Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindle, North Carolina. Elizabeth Vargas takes a look at the harrowing details of the past, as well as the present actions of the Church and examines the plight of former members who are fighting to get their families out.

· Child Brides (w.t.), a special schedule for the fall of 2018. In America, a shocking number of young girls are forced into marriages against their will, a practice that is entirely legal with parental consent. This in-depth two-hour special reveals the heart-wrenching stories of child marriage victims, who against all odds, escaped the most dire of circumstances.

A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for all projects under the A&E Investigates banner.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.