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Ashley Madison is now a household name. After the very public hacking and subsequent data dump even the people who were only pretending they had never heard of it before can now admit they know about the website dedicated to helping married people date. If television producers have their way, even more people will become familiar with the website, as they’re pitching a scripted series based on it. This is what we get for not going to see movies based on board games, apparently.
The Hollywood Reporter has the details on the the project, which is tentatively titled Thank You Ashley Madison. So what would such a series be about? Well, it’s description doesn’t actually bare much resemblance to anything the actual site is about. Producers apparently feel that Ashley Madison founder Noel Biderman is too “stereotypical” to be a character in the potential project. Because of course a guy would create a website dedicated to cheating. In this version, Ashley Madison is created by a mother who launches the site in order to support her family. One of the producers behind the idea, Courtney Hazlett, describes it like this:
There are a lot of TV shows doing a great job of presenting marriage storylines in new ways, but what we’re positing here is, what if there is a third lane to run in and what if you were honest about it?
While the Ashley Madison name is synonymous with cheating, what the producers here seem to actually be looking to do is make a series about polyamory or open relationships. Hazlett talks about being “honest,” which is sort of the opposite of what Ashley Madison usually angles for. An affair and a partner who doesn’t mind if you see other people are not the same thing. Having said that, this is certainly an aspect of some adult relationships that doesn't see a lot of focus on television. For many people who are in committed relationships, there are still more than two people involved. USA’s recent Satisfaction is at least one other show that has dealt with some of these themes.
The idea for the project pre-dates the recent hacking of the website, which released the names of users (among them reality TV personality who can’t keep his name out of the headlines to save his life Josh Duggar). Those responsible are certainly using the recent media attention to try and draw interest in the project. While the recent data dump will likely make people reticent to sign up for the site in the future, Hazlett does have a point that the site’s popularity shows this could be a program people are interested in.
Anytime 30 million people are doing anything, it becomes worthy of a real discussion.
Are you interested in an Ashley Madison series or are you just wishing the name would go away? We’ll let you you know if this idea goes anywhere, unless somebody tries to keep it secret.