A STRICT, VEGETARIAN, FORMER NAVY WIFE WHO DISCIPLINES HER CHILDREN
TRADES PLACES WITH A LIVING-LARGE, JUNK FOOD-EATING MOTHER WHO
ALLOWS HER CHILDREN FREE REIN, ON ABC'S "WIFE SWAP"
Each week, from across the country, two families with very different values are chosen to take part in "Wife Swap." In a two-week challenge, the wives from the two families exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover what it's like to live a very different woman's life. It's a mind-blowing experiment that often changes their lives forever. This week, in "Bittner/Reimer," a strict, vegetarian, ex-Navy wife who disciplines her children swaps lives with a junk food-eating, living-large mother who allows her two headstrong teens free rein, on "Wife Swap," airing WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Melissa Reimers (43), a straight-laced stay-at-home mother from South Florida, and her husband, Paul (45), a former U.S. Navy lieutenant, keep a tight rein on their five children: Molly, 15, Coby, 13, Jordan, 11, Jay, 10 and Lucy, 8. Melissa home-schools her children to keep them pure and protect them from negative outside influences, and the family attends church twice on Sundays. The kids are managed with military-like precision and lots and lots of rules: no running in the house, no talking back, no dating, limited TV and many daily chores. The family adheres to a strict vegetarian diet, with candy permitted only once a week. Obedience is required 24/7. When the children misbehave, the Reimers discipline them with a leather strap called "the whacker."
But stern Melissa is about to get the jolt of her life when she swaps places with 38-year-old bus driver mom Cindy Bittner, head of a boisterous, junk food-loving family from Virginia. Cindy's husband, Steve, 40, is a customer service representative and stepfather to Cindy's spoiled daughters, Blake, 15 and Stevie, 19. In their free time, the family watches television and argues. The Bittners encourage their daughters to be independent and freethinking, with no restrictions on dress or behavior. Blake is allowed to be alone in her bedroom with her boyfriend, and Stevie neither works nor attends school. Cindy does the majority of the housework, with only occasional help from the girls.
In the first week of the swap, Cindy gets a (bad) taste of a structured, healthy, lifestyle and also home-schools the Reimers children, while Melissa has to bite her tongue watching the Bittner girls behave as they please. But in the second week of the swap, when the rules are changed and the tables are turned, Cindy shakes things up by installing satellite TV in the Reimers home and allows the children to attend school for the first time in their lives. Meanwhile, Melissa faces rebellion when she lays down the law with the Bittner teens and imposes her boot camp-style of parenting. When the swap is over, does anyone retain any newfound insights?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF Media production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Lambert and Jenny Crowther of RDF Media ("Faking It" and "Junkyard Wars") and Michael Davies of Diplomatic ("Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"). Wendy Roth is the co-executive producer.
A TV parental guideline will be assigned closer to airdate.