REALITY PREMIERE "Celebrity Wife Swap"
WHEN | WHERE Previews Monday at 10 p.m. on ABC/7, then moves to regular Tuesdays-at-9 p.m. slot.
REASON TO WATCH New twist on the old show -- with a major LI accent.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT You know "Wife Swap." Now, meet "Celebrity Wife Swap." Pairs of celebrities trade off for a few days, to see how quickly they can drive each other crazy. That LI accent of which we speak: Dee Snider (North Shore of Suffolk resident) and Flavor Flav (Freeport-raised) will swap homes next Tuesday. Wrestler Mick Foley (Setauket) arrives later this season.
Monday, Carnie Wilson, Brian's daughter and Wilson Phillips member, and Tracey Gold ("Growing Pains") trade lives. Gold's a neat freak, while earthy Wilson is not predisposed to a House Beautiful home. Then, there are the husbands, Carnie's spouse Rob Bonfiglio, and Tracey's, Roby Marshall.
MY SAY Celebrities are just like you and me, except they are nothing like you and me. That's the conceit here. They live within the same daily humdrum parameters, drawn by family, habits and personality. Except . . . for these celebs, defined as "controversial" by ABC. Certainly no one on the planet is similar to Gary Busey (featured tomorrow), and I'm reasonably positive there's only one Flavor Flav in the entire galaxy. But what's artful -- borderline devious -- here is what's not told. Both Wilson and Gold famously battled weight disorders; Gold's anorexia nearly killed her, and she's had other well-publicized troubles, too. The husbands have back stories as well. Roby Marshall's father, Robert O. Marshall, was convicted of killing his wife back in the '80s; a Joe McGinniss best seller and miniseries followed ("Blind Faith"). None of this is revealed, and a shallow, not especially revealing hour results. At least you may be relieved to see that both of these once-troubled women seem to have found happiness.
BOTTOM LINE ABC is playing coy here. Not nearly enough is revealed about these people, their backgrounds, or their lives. A standard one-dimensional reality show is what you end up with.