(Updated) Escaping Polygamy Crew Reunites in A&E’s New Secrets of Polygamy Docu-Drama

January 24, 2024

Matt Browning and his wife Tawni have reunited with RIVR Media and many of the old crew from Escaping Polygamy to create A&E’s new docu-drama, Secrets of Polygamy. The Brownings identify themselves as being raised Mormon as they continue their crusade for the next sensationalized TV exploit.

This time Matt features himself as the male-hero in the series, moving away from the amateur actors employed in Escaping Polygamy. The new series makes use of many of the same tactics as before along with much of the same content, although the presentation is more polished this time around.

RIVR Media ran into problems with the previous series due to the show’s fake escape format which ultimately led to the show’s demise.

In a November 2023 interview with John Dehlin, former Escaping Polygamy cast member Amanda Grant claimed RIVR Media producers pressured them to produce ten escapes per season. “I think the network just really wanted more escapes and focusing on escapes,” Grant states. To which John Dehlin replies, “it’s almost like you’re producing escapes.”

At one point in the interview Grant describes telling the network, “We can’t give you ten escapes…I don’t want people to think I’m pressuring them into being exploited.”

In the new series, producers opted to dump the fake escape scenarios, which helped eliminate much of cheesy script lines and staged camera shots from before.

To the Brownings’ credit, at no time in the new script do they channel Paul Revere as they had in the past, with actors running down the street proclaiming “The Order is coming!”

The third episode of the new ‘not-so-secrets’ of polygamy series centers around Browning’s exploits from the DCCS. Producers continue to employ the classic “atrocity tale” format with fake scripted “informants” and a constant ominous soundtrack that attempts to elucidate a more sinister effect than the actual dialogue that is occurring on camera.

Escaping the Perils of Sensationalist Television Reduction, Mueller, 2019

One informant, a 32-year-old truck driver from West Valley, meets Browning between some freight containers in an industrial yard. The man’s image and voice are poorly masked as he delivers a scripted interchange with Matt before the show returns to producer’s ‘from-the-backseat’ vehicle shots, that are a signature of the series.

The other informant, a 23-year-old ex-member, pulls up in a minivan she featured on Instagram months earlier. Covered in a hoodie and blue face mask, she alleges she somehow “worked hand-in-hand” to run a multi-million-dollar organization at the age of 15. She also claims to recount events surrounding a highly publicized accidental death of a toddler from 2001 that occurred when the informant was 7 months old.

The second informant openly described the same allegations in a September 2023 YouTube video with former cast member Amanda Grant. In the series, the names in her allegation are masked to “protect the identity” of those involved, a tactic which appears more to protect the Brownings from defamation lawsuits than anything else.


The latest episode uses "Nazi-like" rhetoric and otherisms to dehumanize plural families and children.

All in all, the new series continues to profit off the exploitation of the same stereotypes typically employed to paint plural families as second-class citizens. Browning proclaims at the end of the episode “when the abuse of women and children stops, then I’ll back off.”

No part of this critique is meant to make light of the challenges faced by actual victims of abuse or fraud.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing abuse, please report it directly to the authorities or seek actual professional help that doesn’t involve further exploitation of potential victims.

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