Nearly ten years ago, Elizabeth Smart became a household name when she was abducted from her family's home in Utah and sparked a nationwide media frenzy. As a 23-year-old, she has just inked a deal with ABC to cover missing person cases on a number of programs, including "Good Morning America" and "Nightline."
With the Casey Anthony trial fresh in everyone's minds, ABC insists Smart's hiring is unrelated, but the timing of the two is uncanny, as Smart is scheduled to begin as early as next week.
ABC also emphasizes that the purpose of Smart's hire is not for her to retell her own kidnapping ordeal, which ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend explains has already "been well told and retold."
Instead, Townsend believes Smart can help "viewers understand missing-persons stories from the perspective of knowing what a family experiences when a loved one goes missing," due to her nine-month abduction by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee.
Smart, an advocate for missing children, will appear "when there are missing children or missing-person cases in the news."
While Smart has never been on the reporting side of journalism, she is not new to television cameras, having been previously interviewed by Katie Couric for NBC, Oprah Winfrey, and Nancy Grace.