Sarah D. Bunting

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Bunting in 2009

Sarah D. Bunting, also known online as Sars,[1] is an American blogger and journalist, co-founder (with Tara Ariano) of Television Without Pity (TWoP).[2] She has written for a number of magazines and journals, and has received coverage for her website Tomato Nation.[3]

Television Without Pity[edit]

Bunting and Ariano met online on a Beverly Hills, 90210 fansite before in 1998 founding Dawson's Wrap,[4] a website devoted to the TV soap Dawson's Creek. The site, dedicated to critical commentary on the show, expanded its coverage to more shows, was renamed Mighty Big TV and eventually relaunched as Television Without Pity (TWoP). The site became both popular with fans and influential among television executive producers and screenwriters,[4] as evidenced in cases as when Rescue Me showrunner Peter Tolan used it to publish an open letter to fans defending the depiction of rape in a controversial episode.[5]

In a 2004 interview Bunting expressed skepticism about the effect that TWoP had on the creation of TV shows. She acknowledged nonetheless that certain shows had made evident nods toward the site's effects, including the positioning of a TWoP branded messenger bag in a background shot, and a West Wing character's jibe at the moderator of a fictional internet message board "who I'm sure wears a muu-muu and chain smokes Parliaments."[6] Bunting described the attentions of West Wing producer Aaron Sorkin, however ambivalent, as a net positive for the site: "If we're on his radar it's a good thing. And it drove up our page views."[7]

With Ariano, Bunting published a TWoP spinoff book in 2006.[8] The site was acquired by Bravo in 2007; Bunting and the other cofounders initially remained on the editorial staff[9] before leaving in 2008.[10]

Tomato Nation[edit]

Bunting founded her website,, in 1997.[9] The site drew attention for its advice column, The Vine, which journalists described as an edgier alternative to Dear Abby and Ann Landers for younger people.[11] As a relatively early and prominent blog, it was also among the subjects of Viviane Serfaty's 2004 book The mirror and the veil: an overview of American online diaries and blogs, in which Serfaty analysed Tomato Nation's use of humor in constructing an identity as a blogger.[3]

Bunting's account of her experiences during the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001 (she was working a few blocks from the World Trade Center when the attacks began),[12] first published at Tomato Nation, was syndicated on and received print news attention.[13]

Charity fundraising[edit]

In 2006 Bunting participated for the first time in a bloggers' challenge coordinated by fundraising site, which allows teachers in disadvantaged US schools to bid for private donations to fund classroom projects. The Bloggers' Challenge (later Social Media Challenge) invited blog fans to compete to raise greater sums in donations than could readers of other blogs. Bunting pledged to shave her head in exchange for her readership raising $30,000 in donations.[14] She again won the 2007 contest for Tomato Nation by raising $100,000 through reader donations, from an estimated reader base of 100,000 people.[15] The feat was repeated with a $111,000 reader donation haul in 2008,[16] and $314,158 of reader donations again won the challenge for Tomato Nation in 2009.[17]

Other writing[edit]

Bunting is a contributor to MSNBC,[18] Salon[19] and New York Magazine.[9][20] Her original play The Famous Ghost Monologues was performed at the Abingdon Theater,[21] off-off-Broadway, in 2004.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Bunting was born and raised in New Jersey[9] and attended Princeton University,[2] where she majored in English Literature.[22] Prior to the establishment of Tomato Nation she had jobs as a church secretary, a records clerk, and a dealer in antique books.[9] She lives in Brooklyn[23] and was married in July 2013.[24]


  1. ^ Peterson, Karla (16 March 2007). "With TWoP in Bravo's pocket, does this mean the party's over?". U-T San Diego.
  2. ^ a b Bradberry, Grace (5 January 2003). "Get a shave, Carter". The Guardian.
  3. ^ a b Serfaty, Viviane (2004). The mirror and the veil: an overview of American online diaries and blogs. Rodopi. p. 77. ISBN 90-420-1803-8.
  4. ^ a b Sella, Marshall (20 October 2002). "The Remote Controllers". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Aspan, Maria (8 July 2006). "TV Is Now Interactive, Minus Images, on theWeb". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Johnson, Bobbie (15 March 2004). "Who's running this show?". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Web sites draw TV fans' strong opinions". USA Today. Reuters. 8 May 2002.
  8. ^ McManis, Sam (24 October 2006). "'Television without pity' laughs at conventions of small screen". Scripps News. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Bergman, Cory (13 March 2007). "Bravo acquires". Lost Remote. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011.
  10. ^ Burns, Kelli S (2009). Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster Our Fascination with Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 43. ISBN 0-313-35688-2.
  11. ^ Edwards, Eric (25 March 2002). "Advice column develops a life of its own". The Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
  12. ^ Bunting, Sarah (14 September 2001). "For Thou Art With Us".
  13. ^ Collins, Monica (21 October 2001). "Witness hits Web to recount horror". Boston Herald. p. 24.
  14. ^ "Social-networking sites chief with young adults". St Petersburg Timess. 27 August 2007.
  15. ^ Hempel, Jessi (30 September 2008). "It takes a blogosphere". CNN. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008.
  16. ^ "Donors Choose: Tomato Nation Fall Contest 2008". Donors Choose.
  17. ^ Wilson, Fred (1 November 2009). "The Donors Choose Threepeat is Complete". Business Insider.
  18. ^ Bunting, Sarah (19 October 2004). "Reeve really was the man of steel". MSNBC.
  19. ^ "Contributor: Sarah D. Bunting". Salon.
  20. ^ "Archives: Sarah D. Bunting". New York.
  21. ^ "Concerning the Famous Ghost Monologues". The New Partisan. 5 August 2004.
  22. ^ Teotonio, Isabel (9 April 2002). "TV addicts caught in Net". Toronto Star.
  23. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (14 March 2007). "Bravo is casting a wider net with deal for online fansite". Daily News. New York.
  24. ^ Bunting, Sarah (21 November 2013). "I Got Married! Yay!".

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