Make room for ‘Mommy’

Fox to bow skein July 20, ahead of ABC's 'Wife Swap'

Despite attacks from NBC and other critics, Fox isn’t backing away from its take-no-prisoners approach to the reality wars.

Indeed, network quietly informed affils Friday that it will debut its controversial family swap skein “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy” in little more than a week.

According to a memo obtained by Daily Variety, the first episode of the show will air Tuesday, July 20 at 8 p.m. — barely three weeks after word of the skein first leaked out (Daily Variety, June 25).

More importantly, the early premiere date likely means “Trading Spouses” will hit the air in advance of ABC’s “Wife Swap,” a similarly themed skein the Alphabet has been developing for more than a year. “Wife Swap” sparked strong positive response from advertisers when it was announced by ABC in May, no doubt spurring Fox to move ahead with Rocket Science-produced “Trading Spouses.”

ABC hasn’t said whether it plans to move up the premiere date of “Wife Swap,” which is now slated to bow Sept. 29. Alphabet insiders have been reluctant to let Fox’s actions derail the launch plan for “Wife Swap.”

Decision to launch “Trading Spouses” comes following the failure of Fox drama “The Jury” to gather many Nielsen votes on the night. With “The Jury” now on Fridays, Fox will follow “Trading Spouses” with repeats of “That ’70s Show” and “Quintuplets.”

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