What good can come out of this one?
ABC announced yesterday that disgraced pastor Ted Haggard and “Celebrity Rehab” alum Gary Busey will appear on a future episode of Celebrity Wife Swap. The episode doesn’t have an air date yet, but it will likely be one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season for the series.
Granted, while I’m not a huge fan of the show in the first place, I have caught a couple of episodes. The idea is to send one spouse from each family to the other’s family for a week. And the more opposite the families, the better. The extreme differences in lifestyles creates a level of conflict that’s deemed ‘good entertainment’.
Usually, in the end, the families have grown personally in some way through their exposure to the different lifestyle. Sometimes it actually leaves you with a bit of a warm-fuzzy feeling that we all can get along, and make the world a better place.
But, looking at this lineup of Haggard and Busey, it seems that ABC is resorting more to shock value than quality content. As a story-teller I know that every good story has conflict. And television producers have leveraged that concept, especially in these reality-type TV shows. They create situations where there will be a great deal of conflict, turn the cameras on, and wait for the magic to happen.
In that sense, the Haggard/Busey episode will certainly live up to those expectations.
The problem comes when each episode has to escalate the level of conflict from the previous one to keep viewers interested. Where does it stop? My bigger concern is… What will ABC do to try to top this one? Where will the shock-value end? Even on shows like NBC’s The Biggest Loser, each season seems to find bigger contestants in order to try to top the last one.
I pray that there’s a nice, warm-fuzzy experience that comes out of this. And I hope that Christians don’t end up looking like the fool in this episode like they’re often made out to be. I also pray for Gary Busey that this exposure to a Godly family has long-term, positive impact on his life.
What do you think about shows like this? Will you watch this episode? Why or why not?
What do you think about the escalating levels of conflict to create the shock-value that keeps viewers watching?