Fox, ABC Spar Over Wife Swapping

While Fox is beating ABC's upcoming Wife Swap to the air with Trading Spouses: Meet Your Mommy, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20, ABC isn't taking it lying down. ABC is pulling the two comedies that had been scheduled there -- 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and I'm with Her -- and replacing it with a new episode of Extreme Makeover.

In the episode, three 40-something sisters all undergo extreme makeovers and end up on a singles cruise. On Monday, new ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson said that if he was a producer, he would be careful about pitching to Fox because they might steal producers' ideas. McPherson was referring to Wife Swap, which ABC announced early this year but put off airing until this fall.

On Thursday, Mike Darnell, Fox's reality head, explained that Fox did develop Trading Spouses after ABC announced their show, but didn't think Fox could beat ABC to air with it because ABC had planned Wife Swap for spring. But once ABC announced Wife Swap for fall, "the clouds opened up and we got lucky."

Darnelll continued, "Are we supposed to say that because we just heard a pitch on one idea, we can't pick up another similar show?"

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.