Elizabeth Smart Hired by ABC News as Contributor

Entertainment Jul. 7, 2011 AT 4:16PM
Elizabeth Smart Hired by ABC News as Contributor Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Elizabeth Smart, you're hired.

ABC News has hired the young woman, now 23, who was famously kidnapped for a harrowing nine months in 2002 and 2003, as a paid contributor.

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Drawing on her traumatic past, Smart will "help our viewers better understand missing person stories from someone with the perspective to know what a family experiences when a loved one goes missing," an ABC spokeswoman said.

ABC says the deal "has been in the works for months," and has nothing to do with the nationwide headlines surrounding the case of Casey Anthony and the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

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The Daily Beast reports that Smart will appear on Good Morning America and potentially other ABC shows like Nightline.

Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home at age 14 by a local street preacher, only to be found nine months later.

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ABC News' rep shot down skeptics who called the hire -- Smart doesn't have any journalistic experience -- an elaborate publicity stunt. "This is definitely not about looking backward and telling her story, which has been well told and retold."

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