Maria Shriver returns to NBC

Maria Shriver speaks at the 7th Annual MOCA Maria Shriver speaks at the 7th Annual MOCA Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. (May 1, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Maria Shriver, who left NBC News in 2004 after she took a more visible role as first lady in her then-husband Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration as California governor, has officially come home. NBC announced Tuesday she has rejoined the network as a "special anchor" focusing on women's issues.

Shriver also announced her return during yesterday's "Today" show, to which she'll contribute.

Shriver, 57, has filed for divorce from Schwarzenegger. She is expected to remain in California, where she runs a documentary production company.

After a long career that began in local TV in Philadelphia, in 1987 Shriver joined NBC News, where she became one of the news division's stand-out stars -- most notably as a "Nightly News" weekend anchor, and "Dateline NBC" contributor and anchor.

She resigned in February, 2004 saying at the time that "After much soul-searching, I have asked to be relieved of my duties at NBC News," though the news division president Neil Shapiro -- now president of WNET/13 -- called her departure "an extended leave of absence."

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Published reports at the time said that Shriver, a high-profile newswoman, had played a role in California budget talks.

In a statement Tuesday, the network said, "through a series of special projects, prime-time reports and appearances across multiple NBCUniversal properties -- including NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC and NBC Sports -- Shriver will examine the profound impact that women's rising influence and leadership has had on all aspects of American culture and society."

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