Wife Swap (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
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. In fact, the program will usually deliberately swap wives with dramatically different lifestyles, such as a messy wife swapping with a fastidiously neat one. Despite using a phrase from the swinging lifestyle, couples participating in the show do not have sex- they just "swap" homes.
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 almost always determines 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 wife swap.
In early 2004, ABC in the USA announced its version of Wife Swap, to be called Trading Moms, having outbid the Fox Network for the USA rights for the format. 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 homosexual 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 US$10,000,000, 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 homosexual swaps.
Alicia Guastaferro / Scott Kleveno
In March 2010, teen beauty queen Alicia Guastaferro sued ABC for $100 million, claiming that public embarrassment about her portrayal as a "spoiled brat" on Wife Swap led to panic attacks and suicidal tendencies. The case was settled out of court. The Guastaferro family would have numerous other run-ins with the law, including the parents being charged with money laundering and tax evasion and Alicia herself being caught allegedly prostituting herself to a lawyer, in unrelated incidents. The prostitution charges were dismissed, as there was no evidence to support any conclusion in court.
Wife Swap has aired several unique episodes in its history.
For their hundredth episode on 13 March 2009, the USA 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," LA 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: