MEDIA BUZZ: It's not Ted Haggard who's star of 'Wife Swap,' it's Gayle
Polarizing figures make for good ratings, which is probably why Ted Haggard and his family, along with eccentric actor Gary Busey and his family, are featured in the premiere episode of “Celebrity Wife Swap,” which airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on KRDO/Channel 13.
Haggard, for the uninitiated, was the former New Life Church pastor and leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, who was accused in 2006 of paying for sex and using meth. Whether you admire Haggard for his path toward redemption since the “scandal” (a word the Haggard family uses frequently when referencing Ted’s indiscretions) or consider him yet another religious hypocrite, chances are you’ll be interested in this episode because of the real star of the show — Gayle Haggard.
Early in the episode, Ted’s wife tells the audience that she wanted to be on the program to “show people what we’re really like,” and it works. Viewers are treated to a husband who focuses a little too much on his job, kids who would like to spend more one-on-one time with their father, and a strong wife who is the foundation of a clan.
She clearly kept things together through turmoil that would tear most families apart. Rarely do reality TV shows humanize people, but “Celebrity Wife Swap” certainly does that for the Haggard family.
Even if you disagree with Ted’s actions and beliefs, chances are you’ll be rooting for (or at least have a softened stance of) the Haggards at the end of the episode. Viewers won’t learn anything new in regard to the events of 2006, despite both Gayle and Ted’s openness about it, but you will see a family that has stuck together even though they still struggle with the aftereffects of their father’s mistakes.
Viewers also get some unintentional comic relief in the form of bongo drum pounding, acronym abusing Gary Busey, so it’s a win-win episode for all involved.
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