Maria Shriver joins NBC News as special anchor

Maria Shriver, the Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist, producer and best-selling author, joins NBC News as a special anchor reporting on women’s issues, she announced Tuesday.

Through a series of special projects, prime-time reports and appearances across multiple NBCUniversal properties, Shriver will examine the profound impact that women's rising influence and leadership has had on all aspects of American culture and society.

“I’ve always believed that television can inspire and elevate humanity, and that’s my mission with this new partnership,” Shriver said. "I look forward to shining a light on all areas of a woman's experience – from faith and finances, wellness and work, to relationships and the new realities of modern life – and exploring these issues in a way that brings the voices of men into these critically important conversations."

NBC News will have exclusive broadcast access to her award-winning series of Shriver Reports, multiplatform investigations into the status of American women and their central role in the key issues facing our nation. The next Shriver Report, to be released in early 2014, will address the alarming financial insecurity among American women and families.

“We are delighted that Maria will play such a key role in our efforts to examine this important topic, and all of us at the NBC family are excited to welcome her home,” said Pat Fili-Krushel, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group.

Shriver expressed her enthusiasm as she announced the news on her website, "Wherever and whenever I could, I’ve collected people's stories and tried to tell them in ways that could empower them and others. The journalism is in me, so all my life, I've looked for platforms (films, books, live events, digital and social media) where I could engage my passions and my purpose," Shriver wrote in a blog post titled "Going Forward."

"I’m excited to partner with old friends I’ve known forever -- and the new friends I’ve already made -- to amplify the work that I’ve dedicated myself to over the last decade."

Shriver previously served as an anchor and correspondent for NBC News from 1986 until 2004. She won a Peabody Award for a Dateline special report on single mothers and welfare. She made her mark at TODAY, anchoring the first Sunday broadcast of Weekend TODAY in 1987 and conducting interviews with the likes of Fidel Castro. Since then, she’s been a part of TODAY through various special reports, including coverage of the papal transition.

As first lady of California from 2003-2011, she championed a number of women’s-focused initiatives.

A mother of four, Shriver will remain based in Los Angeles and continue to produce outside television, film, book and live event projects under the auspices of her own production company.