Laura Ling has signed on to host a new series for entertainment-centric cable network E!, The Hollywood Reporter said Monday.
The former journalist with Al Gore’s Current TV Network will host a new E! series — E! Investigates — set to premiere in December.
In the Spring of 2009, Ling and her Current colleague Euna Lee were arrested and detained in North Korea, after wandering over the border from the Chinese city of Yanji while reporting a story on Korean refugees. Ling and Lee were shuttled to Pyongyang for questioning and within a few months tried and convicted of illegally entering the country with plans for a smear campaign. Both women were sentenced to 12 years hard labor. They faced torture and other brutal conditions that have been described as “Hell on Earth.”
The sentencing set off an extremely tense showdown between North Korea and the United States. It was former President Bill Clinton who saved the day. Clinton flew to Pyongyang last August and Ling and Lee were quickly pardoned. Laura — the sister of former View co-hostess Lisa Ling — has grown so close to the ex-Commander-in-Chief that when she delivered her second daughter over the summer, she and husband Clayton named the girl Jefferson, which is also Clinton’s middle name.
E! Investigates will see Ling exploring a mirage of social issues, including teen suicide and how military wives cope while their husbands are away. Ling says she’s excited about getting the chance to report for a younger audience for a change.
“The fact that E! is committed to this type of show — that they believe that their audience is just as interested in watching substantive programs that cover substantive issues as they are in watching the Kardashians — is thrilling to me because I’ve always been trying to reach a younger audience,” Ling told The New York Times this week.
Ling and Lee were named “Women of the Year” by Glamour Magazine in 2009.