A DOORMAT MOTHER FROM THE DEEP SOUTH WHO DEVOTES HER LIFE TO PLEASING
HER KIDS BY SPOILING THEM TRADES PLACES AND FAMILIES WITH A STRICT, DRIVEN
MOM WHO LAYS DOWN THE LAW AT HOME AND AT WORK, 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 these 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 ends up changing their lives forever. This week, in "Burkhalter/Elliott," an indulgent mother from the deep South who devotes her life to pleasing her kids swaps lives with a driven, strict mom who lays down the law at home and at work. "Wife Swap" airs WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
The Burkhalters are an affluent, close-knit family from a small town in Mississippi. Sue Burkhalter (45) is a stay-at-home mom and a self-confessed doormat who does all the cooking and cleaning for her family. Husband Jeff (45) admits that he too is a pushover when it comes to their daughters. The Burkhalters believe in indulging their two girls, even though the kids have no chores or responsibilities. Eldest daughter Nancy (21) is taking a hiatus from her college education and frequently borrows her father's credit cards for shopping sprees. Eighteen-year old Laura-Beth gets up whenever she wants, home schools herself on the computer if she fees like it and parties till the early hours.
Sue travels to the suburban Maryland home of the upwardly mobile Elliott family, headed by mom Shelley (46), who works long hours as a Special Agent for the Inspector General in Washington, DC. Her husband, Carl (41), is employed as a hotel doorman. Shelley and Carl share a strong work ethic which they instill in their children, insisting the kids be dutiful and responsible. Fifteen-year-old Justine and eleven-year-old Javier have daily chores, spend much of their time studying, are not allowed to have cell phones or allowances, and have restricted television privileges.
In the first week of the swap, Sue is astonished when her new obedient kids do exactly what she asks and learns that the Elliotts have forbidden teenage Justine from following her dream of becoming a model. Meanwhile, Shelley hates being a domestic doormat for her new wayward daughters and is horrified when she discovers that the Burkhalters have a "mammy" cookie jar. But in week two of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Sue sets out to reward the kids for their efforts, taking Justine for a modeling photo session, while Javier declares rule change day "the best day of my life." And tough-talking Shelley lays down the law with the lazy Burkhalter girls, getting them jobs, confiscating their credit cards, insisting Laura-Beth catch up with her neglected home schooling and banning the offensive cookie jar!
In an extremely warm and heartfelt reunion, Jeff is bowled over by his newly assertive and self-confident wife, and Carl can already see a new and much softer side of Shelley.
"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.