Ashley Madison's infidelity business a saucy pitch for Hollywood

Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:40pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Even before the details of millions of users of infidelity website Ashley Madison were hacked and leaked to the public, a television show based on the dating site for married people was being shopped around Hollywood.

"Thank You Ashley Madison," a series concept based on a woman who signs up to the website, is being pitched to networks by Los Angeles-based OutEast Entertainment, the company's senior vice president of development, Courtney Hazlett, said on Wednesday.

OutEast Entertainment made a deal in 2014 with Avid Life Media Inc, the parent company of Ashley Madison, to use the website's name in the television show with the hopes of drawing some of the site's 37 million clients to watch the series.

The concept for the show would focus on a woman "who has a different vision for what marriage might look like in modern day," Hazlett said. She likened it to HBO's series "Togetherness," which takes a realistic look at a modern day couple navigating married life.

"There's a number of women in this position too, it's not all about men, it's a turning point in marriage," she said.

"Justified" scriptwriter Jennifer Kennedy will co-write the series with Ian MacDonald. Hazlett declined to say which networks the show is being pitched to and whether any deals are close to being made.

After a hacker group breached the Ashley Madison website and published details of the site's clients last week - some of which included email addresses of U.S. government officials - the attack has sparked extortion attempts and at least two possible suicides, according to Toronto police.

Former reality star and family values campaigner Josh Duggar of TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" was forced to apologize for cheating on his wife after his details were uncovered in the data leak. Duggar entered rehab this week..   Continued...

A photo illustration shows the Ashley Madison app displayed on a smartphone in Toronto, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch