Almost one year ago, the cable network CMT announced that it was reviving the ABC reality series Wife Swap. It was supposed to premiere this week—so what happened?
The show was pulled from CMT’s schedule, because it was moved to Paramount Network, another Viacom-owned channel (it used to be Spike).
Paramount announced that on March 7; its press release quoted Keith Cox, Paramount’s president of development, who said,
“Wife Swap is an iconic international hit that’s more relevant now than ever. There are plenty of fireworks in each episode that audiences expect, but they’ll also be surprised as they watch these families learn about new lifestyles and choices to find resolution.”
The new series will air Thursday at 9 starting on April 4.
Wife Swap was supposed to premiere in February 2019
CMT’s announcement came three years after the fourth and final season of Celebrity Wife Swap aired on ABC; it was a spin-off of the 2004 to 2010 version that had non-celebrities.
The new version, CMT promised, would have families who switch lives and “slowly learn to embrace their differences to come together and find common ground” over “politics, classism, gender and race.”
That seems like a surprising angle for a show with the title that suggests women are being traded like property. Here’s how the revival was described in a press release:
“The beloved series is back at just the right time, as the country feels more divided than ever. Each episode of the CMT revival of the ABC hit docuseries (2004-2010) will feature two families from different walks of life who switch spouses and slowly learn to embrace their differences in order to come together. The one-hour, 10-episode series spotlights families from different geographical and social backgrounds that swap spouses; showcasing hot-button issues like politics, classism, gender and race with the end goal of finding common ground. During each switch, the new spouses must at first adhere to exactly the same rules and lifestyle of the spouses being replaced, only to later establish their own rules. At the end, the two couples meet for the first time, where they discuss what they learned from the swap and what changes and new rules will remain once they return home.”
Last October, CMT announced its “winter programming slate,” and that included Wife Swap. Its premiere date: Feb. 28, airing Thursdays at 9.
But the show is not airing this Thursday; Troop Beverly Hills is scheduled then instead. The show isn’t even listed on CMT’s web site.
Last month, Banjay Studios, the production company that owns the rights to the show and was producing it for CMT, announced that it’d sold the format to a Brazilian network, where it’ll air as Troca de Esposas.
That announcement also said that “further local adaptations are already underway” in Australia, North America, and Finland, with 10 hour-long episodes airing in the U.S.
So it’s coming. But when?
I asked CMT, and was told it’s definitely not premiering this week.
Instead, its premiere date has been pushed back—but there’s no information about when it’ll actually air.
Meanwhile, CMT’s reality show Racing Wives was supposed to air starting in January; it was also pulled off the schedule, though a page for it is still on CMT’s site that says “coming 2019.”
I’ll update this story when (or if) a premiere date for Wife Swap announced.
Where to watch old seasons of Wife Swap
While old, original Wife Swap episodes were being syndicated by Lifetime, it doesn’t seem to be available to view right now.
However, all four seasons of Celebrity Wife Swap are on Amazon,
Netflix has three episodes of Real Life Wife Swap, but that’s a documentary reality series about swingers.
Update: This story was updated March 7 with details about the move to Paramount Network.