Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan



April 17, 2012

"Coming Soon To A TV Near You: My Family on 20/20"

Remember Sierra Black? The poly mom who did such bright, clear articles about her life and family a few months ago on Salon, Strollerderby, and Babble.com?

This Friday night (April 20) she and hers will go before perhaps 5 million people on ABC's "20/20".

She posts (reprinted with permission):


Coming Soon To A TV Near You: My Family on 20/20

My household, along with several of my friends and loved ones, are being profiled by 20/20 about our ethical nonmonogamy, a.k.a. polyamory, a.k.a. open marriage. The part where Martin and I are happily married and also happily dating other people, whatever you want to call that.

The episode is scheduled to air this Friday, April 20, at 10 p.m. EDT [9 p.m. CDT] on ABC.

Here’s what I hope you will do with this information:

1. Spread the word. I’d love for there to be a large contingent of engaged, progressive viewers for this show. 20/20 has a typical audience of 7 million people. Most of my friends (probably most of your friends) are not their target demo. Let’s represent!

2. Watch the show. It’s bound to be interesting. The whole piece is on the “evolution of marriage”, and will feature my family, some of my friends and lovers, and another poly community in Seattle. They’ve talked to some interesting authors and researchers as well.

3. Record it and send me a copy. I’ve figured out how I’m going to watch the episode when it airs, due to the graciousness of one of my dear friends who has a TV and knows how to use it. I have not figured out how I’m going to keep a recording of this madness for future reference. If you can easily record it, please do!

4. Thank ABC for their work. Remember that audience I was talking about? This is a controversial topic. I’m sure they’ll get plenty of criticism for covering it at all. It’d be great to know they’re also getting positive feedback. So even if they fuck it up, let’s say thank you and offer constructive critique.

5. Give me some lovin’. I’m exposing myself and my family to a huge amount of public scrutiny and criticism. Throughout this process I’ve worried about everything from how my relationships will be portrayed to what middle America will think of my housekeeping. I can’t overstate how much support from readers means to me. Your kind words keep me going. Please offer me constructive feedback and support if you can. This goes double for everyone else who was involved, if you’re lucky enough to know the other cast members.


Here's her original post.

The title of the episode is "Strange Arrangements: The New Sex." ABC has put up a video promo. It's pretty sensationalized, but that's what promos tend to do.

The show's written description sounds much better. The open-marriage segment seems to be the third of four in the one-hour show:


Wives with boyfriends and husbands with girlfriends… female celebrities breaking the taboo and talking about sex in ways they never have before… women paying cute guys to date them… open marriages… what’s going on with sexual arrangements in America today? Anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and including the first primetime interview with 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James, “20/20″ goes inside this new world of strange arrangements....

Reports include:

50 Shades of Grey:....

Celebrity Sex:....


Open Marriage with Kids: With one in two marriages ending in divorce, some couples, instead of blowing up relationships, are quietly expanding them. “20/20″ profiles two couples who are living the open marriage lifestyle while raising kids and growing old together and they say it has made their relationships better. Having other paramours not only spices up their love life but the romantic intimacy builds a kind of extended family that actually helps with childrearing.

Gigolos:...


While we're here, by the way, a reminder. Don't walk into media things unprepared. Look into what the volunteer Polyamory Media Association offers by way of research and discovery before you agree to a TV appearance. And get their advice on how to control the conditions and how you will come across, and be ready to walk away.

After the 20/20 episode airs, it should eventually appear online here.

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