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Wife Swap.jpg

Wife Swap is an ABC network reality series narrated by John Schwab.

The show's original run aired from September 26, 2004 to August 13, 2010; a revived version of the series aired from March 21 to May 2, 2013.

Another version of the show "Celebrity Wife Swap" aired from January of 2012 to May of 2015.

A reboot of the series premiered on the Paramount Network in 2019.


Two families (usually from different social classes and lifestyles) swap wives/mothers (and sometimes husbands) for two weeks.

For the first week, the new wife has to follow the exact same rules and lifestyle of the wife that she is replacing; each wife leaves a manual which explains how the home is run.

In the second week, the new wives are allowed to make their own rules that the family has to follow.

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.

A few weeks later, the cameras return to record what changes have occurred since the swap.

Legal issues

Trading Spouses

In early 2004, ABC announced a U.S. version of the British show "Wife Swap" to be called Trading Moms," having outbid Fox Network for the rights for the format in the United States.

In June of that same year, Fox publicized a program with an almost identical format to "Wife Swap" entitled "Trading Spouses" which it began broadcasting on July 1st. ABC then reverted to the original UK title for their series, which began on September 26th.

In December of 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.

Gay swap

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.

Bedford claimed 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 sued for over $10 million, although a spokesman revealed that the contract stated the spouse could be of either gender.

In 2007, the UK version of "Wife Swap" began a search for more gay or lesbian swaps.

Alicia Guastaferro

In March of 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.