Former ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas joins NewsNation

Elizabeth Vargas is joining NewsNation.

Nexstar Media Group’s NewsNation has landed another former ABC News star for its nightly prime time lineup.

The cable news channel announced Tuesday that Elizabeth Vargas, who previously was a co-anchor for “ABC World News” and “20/20,” has signed on to host a nightly program. “Elizabeth Vargas Reports” will air out of the Chicago-based network’s New York studios at 3 p.m. Pacific starting April 3.

Vargas is the second veteran network news personality to join NewsNation in recent months. Chris Cuomo, formally of ABC News and CNN, signed on to NewsNation in September with a nightly program.


Dan Abrams, chief legal correspondent for ABC News and a former MSNBC host, joined NewsNation in fall 2021.

All three previously worked with Michael Corn, the former senior executive producer for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” who took over NewsNation’s editorial operation in May 2021. Corn signed on after NewsNation stumbled out of the gate with a leadership team that had no experience in cable or network news.

Although NewsNation lags far behind established cable news channels Fox News, CNN and MSNBC in the Nielsen ratings, it has made gains since adding Cuomo’s program to its prime time lineup.

Cuomo was fired from CNN in December 2021 over how he advised his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on the handling of sexual harassment complaints brought against him. Andrew Cuomo eventually resigned over the allegations in August 2021.

But as the most-watched prime time personality on CNN, some viewers have clearly followed Cuomo to his new TV home, boosting the rest of NewsNation’s prime time lineup. Last week, “Cuomo” averaged 168,000 viewers, up 282% over a comparable week in 2021.

More than seven months after he left CNN, former anchor Chris Cuomo returned to the news space this week with a podcast, ‘The Chris Cuomo Project.’

July 21, 2022

During the fourth quarter of 2022, NewsNation saw its prime time viewership grow by 129% compared with the previous year, when its audience levels were minuscule. The channel was up 88% in the 25 to 54 age group advertisers seek when buying commercials on news programming.


Despite the growth, the operation still faces obstacles. The channel airs repeats of network entertainment programs under deals made when it was WGN America, which means its viewers will not always find news when they tune in.

Dan Abrams and Chris Cuomo at the NewsNation studio in New York.

As those programming deals wind down, Nexstar plans for NewsNation to have around-the-clock news programming five days a week starting in the spring. Nexstar executives have stated their commitment to NewsNation, which is getting higher ad rates than the repeat entertainment program it replaced.

Vargas, 60, is a well-known quantity to TV news viewers. She spent 20 years at ABC News, including a stint as the third woman ever to co-anchor a network evening newscast when she shared the anchor desk with Bob Woodruff in 2006. The joint anchor arrangement was scrapped after Woodruff was seriously injured on assignment in Iraq.

Vargas was also a news anchor on “Good Morning America,” and spent 14 years as co-anchor of the news magazine “20/20.” She left ABC News at the end of 2017.

Vargas is well-known to the true crime audience, which NewsNation has courted with its extensive coverage of the murders of four University of Idaho students.


Vargas is currently host of “iCrime,” a half-hour syndicated series airing on other stations nationwide. She also served as the host of “America’s Most Wanted” on Fox TV.

A recovering addict, Vargas is a member of the board of directors for the nonprofit Partnership to End Addiction and hosts “Heart of the Matter,” a podcast focused on addiction and recovery.