ABC's "Celebrity Wife Swap" puts a new spin on the critically-acclaimed reality series, "Wife Swap," by revealing the various ways some controversial celebrities live their lives. In this new series, the mothers in two celebrity families switch lifestyles, children and homes (but not bedrooms), and embark on a journey like no other. They are given the chance to see how another celebrity raises children and deals with life in the spotlight, while allowing both couples the opportunity to re-discover why they love each other and why they decided to get together in the first place. "Celebrity Wife Swap" premieres on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET on the ABC Television Network (local station KRDO Channel 13). The season premiere will feature Colorado Springs-based Evangelical Pastor Ted Haggard and Academy Award-Nominated actor Gary Busey. Gary Busey is enjoying a 41-year career in Hollywood, which includes a BAFTA win and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, both for his performance in the title role of "The Buddy Holly Story." His other notable film credits include his memorable roles in "The Firm," "Under Siege," "Point Break," "Big Wednesday" and "Lethal Weapon." Busey became a household name and ratings sensation with TV audiences too in his recent starring role in "Celebrity Apprentice," when Team Busey raised and donated $40,000 to his charity, The Center for Head Injury Services in St. Louis, MO. Busey's other TV roles of note were his multiple appearances on HBO's "Entourage" and a recent special guest-star role in which he played himself on "Two and a Half Men." Ted Haggard is the pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO, and the husband of 33 years to Gayle Haggard, New York Times best-selling author of Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour. Together they founded New Life Church in Colorado Springs, which grew to 14,000 members. In 2006 Haggard resigned from his position as senior pastor when his moral failure became public. The resulting scandal became national news due to the fact that Haggard also served as the President of the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). During his four years as president, Pastor Haggard represented the NAE in meetings with President Bush, Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Ariel Sharon and on numerous media outlets. Currently he and his wife, Gayle, are serving St. James Church. Gayle is also working on a new book, and Ted has launched a series of YouTube videos commenting on current events and biblical issues. They have five children, all living in Colorado Springs.
In July 2011, the series’ production company for “Celebrity Wife Swap” was referred to the Colorado Springs Film Commission by the Colorado Office of Film Television & Media, a division of Colorado Creative Industries. Film Liaison Floy Kennedy worked with the production team to scout locations and local crew members for the filming of the season premier. Plans were delayed as the series searched for the second half of the “swap” as only the Haggard family resides in Colorado Springs. The series went out of area and secured Busey and his significant other. “Between the recent ‘Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition’ episode filmed in the destination, and the series premier of ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’, ABC has utilized Colorado Springs as a wonderful location and backdrop for these high-profile reality series. Given Colorado Springs’ natural beauty, diverse filming locations and the complimentary resource of the Colorado Springs Film Commission offered to any crews filming in the area, it’s an easy choice to top a location list.” The production company arrived in August to scout locations and the segment was filmed in the area over a five day period in September 2011. In each one-hour episode, two mothers with very different values swap lifestyles and children in a one week-long challenge. In the first part of the swap, each mom moves into the other's home and must adopt their new celebrity family's lifestyle, no matter how different. They agree to follow a manual written by the departing mother that sets out the rules of the new household - how to parent, manage their social life, do house work, unwind and more. In the second half of the week, everything changes when the new moms take charge. They introduce their own set of rules and get to run the new household their way. It's a radical shock to both celebrity families. The results are explosive, enlightening, emotional and often very funny. At the end of the show, the two celebrity couples meet for the first time. In a potentially highly-charged exchange of views, both couples make a frank assessment of each other and talk about what they've learned from the experience. In the process, the kids as well as the partners discover what it would be like to live a life completely unlike their own. It's a mind-blowing experiment that will change their lives forever. Other featured celebrities who will star in the series include:
- Tracey Gold, actress, formerly of "Growing Pains," and Carnie Wilson, singer/actress/TV host.
- Flavor Flav, world renowned rapper, and Dee Snider, rock star.
- Mick Foley, professional wrestler/writer, and Antonio Sabato Jr., actor/model.
- Niecy Nash, actress/comedienne, and Tina Yothers, rocker and actress, formerly of "Family Ties."
"Celebrity Wife Swap" is produced by Zodiak USA. Executive producers include Grant Mansfield, Natalka Znak, Claire O'Donohoe and Bruce Toms.