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New BYU Television series promises "real answers" for "real families"

13-part “Real Families, Real Answers” begins Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.

Families everywhere are under fire, but a new documentary television series is stepping up with real answers for the challenges they face. “Real Families, Real Answers” is a 13-part television series that tackles challenges like strengthening marriages, managing family finances, dealing with blended families, protecting family time, managing emotions and avoiding and overcoming pornography.

“Real Families, Real Answers” premieres on BYU Television on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. For more information about air dates and times, visit

Award-winning director Blair Treu (“The Last Day of Summer,” “Little Secrets”) spent the better part of a year traveling coast to coast with a camera crew, living with families of different sizes, backgrounds and circumstances to capture the essence of modern family life. There are no actors, no made-up situations.

“This is the real deal,” says Treu, adding, “Some people enjoy sitting back and watching a dysfunctional family yell and scream at each other. That’s not what we’re about. We’re celebrating the things that families are doing right, accepting the fact that they’re not perfect and there are things they could do better.”

Narrated by journalist Jane Clayson Johnson (ABC News, CBS’s “Early Show”), the series features nationally recognized authors and scholars who provide insightful, relevant commentary on ways to strengthen families and overcome problems in the home.

The first two episodes address the nine characteristics that strong families have in common, and those characteristics, including commitment, love, faith and communication, are echoed and defined throughout the series.

But it’s the “real families” featured in each episode that give the series heart. The Wiggingtons of Round Rock, Texas, tell how their sense of commitment – to each other and to their marriage – has pulled them through some hard times, including a long stretch of unemployment. A family stationed at Fort Hood military base is coping with the stress of an absentee father of six children, deployed to Iraq for months at a time. In the “Parenting” episode a young family learns the importance of love, limits and latitude for keeping children’s behavior in bounds. And viewers will especially want to tune in for the poignant “Family Crucibles” episode where the families profiled have met and overcome extraordinary difficulties and crushing tragedies that could have torn them apart. Instead, they’ve grown stronger and even closer while undergoing a refiner’s fire.

“The time is right for a show just like this,” observes Treu, “a show that specifically talks about the issues relative to the family and the things that tear and pull us apart.”

“Real Families, Real Answers” offers an arsenal of tools and information for building stronger, happier homes. It can make an important difference in the lives of its viewers.

“Real Families, Real Answers” is a production of KBYU-TV, the BYU School of Family Life, the BYU Division of Continuing Education and the BYU Center for Teaching and Learning.

Writer: Brady Toone

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