Laura Ling

While fashion postmortems and true Hollywood stories still make up the bulk of its programming, E! has added some gravitas by tapping journalist Laura Ling as the new host of its documentary series E! Investigates. Tonight at 10/9c, Ling — who endured 140 days of captivity in North Korea after being detained while reporting along the Chinese-North Korean border in 2009 — examines the struggles faced by military wives when their husbands return home from combat. "These spouses are experiencing their own posttraumatic stress. They say goodbye to their husbands, and when they return, often they're not the same," says Ling, whose ordeal helped her bond with the wives.

Ling's imprisonment also redefined her focus as a journalist. "Some stories entail risk, but leaving such issues ignored can be even more detrimental to us as a society," she says, adding that now, "I have a different perspective on life." It's a perspective that may have been influenced by one of her captors. "This was the nightmare of my life, but I did experience glimmers of humanity," she recalls. "One guard told me at a very dark hour to have hope. It shows the greater understanding that can come about when people communicate."

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