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Wife Swap - not as controversial as it sounds

18-April-2005
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Wife Swap - not as controversial as it sounds

The name of this show might take you aback but hold on, the shock value ends with the title of the show. Wife Swap, the new reality show, from Hallmark' s stable is a show that gives an opportunity for the participating families to rebuild their ties and experience the cultural difference.

"The name of the show may have shock value but the programming contains no controversial material. This show was a great hit in the UK and the US, which is what led us to bring it to India too," said Amitabh, General Manager, India, Hallmark Channel.

So what is the show all about? Basically, Hallmark is not stepping away from the family entertainment positioning, said Amitabh. The show format is such that each week two families will be chosen from either the US or the UK. They are picked because of their different, sometimes opposing lifestyles and values. Each wife is given a chance to live with a new family and the swap will last for two weeks. In the first week, the visiting wives will have to live by the rules of their new home, however alien they may seem. In the second week, the visiting wives get to take control-now the families have to obey their rules.

Ruling out the notion that Hallmark is about movies, he said, "This not true at all. The channel has been a complete entertainment channel for three years and initially we did find this perception but it is no longer existent." Amitabh said that the idea is to present enriching content for family viewing and the content comprises shows for children, primetime drama series, sitcoms, Hollywood theatricals, made for television movies and now reality shows.

Amitabh said that reality shows are certainly grabbing eyeballs across the globe. However, the channel will not see a complete shift towards reality shows. "Our focus will be well distributed between movies, sitcoms etc but e will add reality shows if we find interesting content."

Wife Swap has been RDF International's best selling format. It has been sold-either as an acquisition or as a format-to more than 20 territories. The show gained popularity on Britain's channel 4 in 2003. The average audience of the 12 episodes that aired in the Tuesday 9pm slot was 6 million. When the American Wife Swap series was telecasted on Channel 4, an average audience of the four episodes aired in November 2004 was 2.8 million.

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