Wife Swap (U.S. TV series)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||124 (Original Series)
27 (Celebrity Wife Swap)
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||September 26, 2004
– August 13, 2010|
March 21, 2013 – present
January 2, 2012 – present
(Celebrity Wife Swap)
|This article is outdated. (December 2014)|
Wife Swap is an American reality television program that was first broadcast on the ABC network in 2004. In the program, two families, usually from different social classes and lifestyles, swap wives/mothers – and sometimes husbands – for two weeks. The program will usually deliberately swap wives with dramatically different lifestyles, such as a messy wife swapping with a fastidiously neat one, documenting the cultural and social differences that the two families discover with the new family member. The swapped couples do not have sex. A spin-off series of featuring celebrities debuted January 2, 2012 under the title Celebrity Wife Swap. On March 2, 2013, ABC confirmed that original Wife Swap would return March 21, 2013.
During the first week, the new wife must adhere to exactly the same rules and lifestyle of the wife she is replacing. Each wife leaves a house manual which explains her role in the family and the duties she holds. This helps to determine what rules the wives will apply at the "rules change ceremony".
During the second week, the new wives are allowed to establish their own rules, and their new families must adhere to these new household rules. It usually takes a while for the families to adjust to this policy, meanwhile the wives disburse a sum of money to the family they have become involved with, to do what the wives see fit to spend it on.
At the end of the two weeks, the two couples all meet together for the first time, and the wives, along with their husbands, discuss how they felt about the two weeks. This often descends into personal insults and has degenerated into violence at least twice. More often than not, however, both families reach toward a middle ground and express that they have learned from the experience. Sometimes, the table meeting is a very heartfelt and emotional time for the two families who sometimes have complete and mutual respect for each other. A few weeks later the cameras return to record what changes have occurred since the swap.
In early 2004, ABC announced a U.S. version of Wife Swap, to be called Trading Moms, having outbid Fox Network for the rights for the format in the U.S. In June, the same year Fox publicized a program with an almost identical format to Wife Swap entitled Trading Spouses, which it began broadcasting on July 1, ABC then reverted to the original UK title for their series, which began on September 26. In December 2004, RDF Media sued Fox for copyright infringement for reproducing the Wife Swap format without their permission. In 2008, FOX sold the rights to the show to CMT, ending the run.
In November 2005, Jeffrey Bedford, a participant in the American series, sued ABC network for trading his wife for a gay man. He accused ABC of being dishonest, not allowing him contact with his wife, and making him miss his lessons at college. He claims that, when he ceased participating with the production of the episode, ABC threatened that it would not tell him his wife's whereabouts and would not pay for his wife's return home. He is suing for over $10 million, although a spokesperson revealed that the contract stated the spouse could be of either gender. In 2007, the UK version began a search for more gay or lesbian swaps.
In March 2010, Alicia Guastaferro sued ABC for $100 million, claiming that her appearance and depiction on a 2008 episode of Wife Swap led to her public embarrassment and that she suffered from panic attacks and suicidal tendencies as a result. Guastaferro alleged that many of the scenes that depicted her as a "spoiled brat" were staged and that she had been purposely asked to "act a little more spoiled." The lawsuit was settled out of court later that same year and the terms were not disclosed to the press.
Wife Swap has aired several unique episodes in its history.
For their hundredth episode on 13 March 2009, the U.S. version selected 24 families to participate in a contest to reswap. Viewers voting in October 2008 picked the artistic/psychic Silver family of Florida and the storm-chasing/UFO hunting Heenes of Colorado. The Heenes later gained notoriety in the national media when they were involved in the Balloon boy hoax. According to Denver Blogger Bill Husted, "It sounds like a good match." But, "distressingly," L.A. Times writer Jon Caramancia wrote, "it's clear they haven't learned a thing."
Celebrity Wife Swap
In January 2012, ABC began airing a celebrity version of Wife Swap. The ten celebrities whose families took part were:
- Tracey Gold and Carnie Wilson
- Gary Busey and Ted Haggard
- Dee Snider and Flavor Flav
- Niecy Nash and Tina Yothers
- Antonio Sabato, Jr and Mick Foley
On May 11, 2012, the show was renewed for a second season. The second season debuted on February 26, 2013. The celebrities who took part were:
- Kate Gosselin and Kendra Wilkinson
- Coolio and Mark McGrath
- Alan Thicke and Gilbert Gottfried
- Bristol and Willow Palin and Joan and Melissa Rivers
- Ric Flair and Roddy Piper
- Nia Peeples and Tiffany
- Andy Dick and Lorenzo Lamas
- Downtown Julie Brown and Lisa Leslie
- Gerardo and Sisqó
It was announced on July 31, 2013, that the series has been renewed for a thirteen episode third season. The third season began on April 15, 2014. The celebrities taking part are
- Daniel Baldwin and Jermaine Jackson
- Tichina Arnold and Kelly Packard
- Robin Leach and Eric Roberts
- Laila Ali and Angie Stone
- Angie Everhart and Gina Neely
- Larry Birkhead and Helio Castroneves
- David Justice and Dweezil Zappa
- Amanda Beard and Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt
- Judy Gold and Penn Jillette
- Joe Piscopo and Barry Williams
- Jenna Von Oy and Jill Zarin
- Tyler Christopher and Ronn Moss
- Plaxico Burress and DJ Paul
- Wife Swap (UK TV series), the original British version of the series
- Ausiello, Michael (March 1, 2013). "Time's Up: Zero Hour Cancelled by ABC". TVLine.
- Carter, Bill (2 August 2004). "In Reality TV, Is It Thievery Or Flattery?". The New York Times.
- "Spouse swap a fit for Fox: Net snipes at Alphabet with Trading Spouses" article from Variety
- "Wife Swap sues Trading Spouses" article from post-gazette.com
- "Breaking News — TWENTIETH TELEVISION SELLS FAMILY FOCUSED REALITY SERIES "TRADING SPOUSES" AND "NANNY 911" TO CMT". TheFutonCritic.com. 27 February 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Man Sues After Reality TV Gay 'Wife Swap'". FOX News. 21 November 2005.
- "Wife Swap want gay or lesbian family". Pink News. 13 February 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Teen beauty queen portrayed as spoiled brat on 'Wife Swap' files $100M lawsuit". NYDN. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "'Wife Swap' star Alicia Guastaferro to plead not guilty to prostitution in Thruway arrest". Syracuse.com. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "Home". Wife Swap. ABC.com. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Ft. Collins couple play "Wife Swap" – AGAIN! | The Peek". Blogs.denverpost.com. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- Caramanica, Jon (8 March 2009). "'Wife Swap': Voyeurism with a message (sometimes)". Los Angeles Times.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 31, 2013). "ABC's 'Celebrity Wife Swap' Renewed For Third Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 1, 2013.