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Lifetime pulls rerun of Heene family's first 'Wife Swap' appearance


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/21/2009 

Viewers hoping to see the Heene family will apparently have to stick to the news instead of a Wife Swap rerun.

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Lifetime has decided against airing a Wife Swap rerun featuring the family that was originally scheduled to air Thursday, October 29 at 2PM ET/PT, CNN reported Tuesday.

The family captured the nation's attention last week when Richard and Mayumi Heene claimed a homemade helium balloon accidentally lifted off while their 6-year-old son Falcon was inside one of its compartments.

However when the balloon touched down after a 50-mile, two-hour trip Falcon was nowhere to be found and his parents later claimed he was hiding in the rafters at his family's garage after being scolded by Richard for playing near the balloon.

After investigating the incident, authorities have alleged that it was a hoax intended to land the family a reality show deal.  While they haven't been charged yet, Richard and Mayumi are expected to face charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, trying to influence a public official and providing false information to authorities.  If convicted, they could face up to six years in prison and a million dollars in fines.

Lifetime airs Wife Swap in repeat syndication and had scheduled the episode featuring the Heene family's first Wife Swap appearance -- which originally aired last fall on ABC -- to air on October 29 before the incident late last week.

"It was on the schedule long before the incident," a Lifetime spokesperson told CNN, adding that the network made the decision to pull it once allegations the incident was a hoax surfaced.

"We decided to pull it off the air. At this time, we don't have any plans to air it in the near future," the spokesperson told CNN.

Lifetime plans to fill the timeslot with another Wife Swap episode, CNN reported.

In addition to their initial Wife Swap appearance, the Heenes were also featured on the show's 100th episode after they won an abc.com poll which asked viewers to vote for two former Wife Swap families they'd liked to see on the show again. 

Wife Swap's RDF Media production company has acknowledged it had been developing a reality show with the family but has stated the project was no longer in active development.

In addition, TLC also confirmed that it had previously been approached by the Heenes about a reality show but "passed" on the project.



(Photo credit ABC)


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