Reality Show Casting Call For Wife Swap, Want To Earn $20,000?

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-03-1816

Update: I don’t believe this casting call is in effect any longer. So sorry about that! Still, if you’re interested about entering a television show for money, you may want to read on as this article can offer a perspective on this matter.

Earn $20,000 by being frugal. On television. I’m a huge reality tv show freak, so when a casting producer from ABC emailed me about the reality show called Wife Swap, I was intrigued. Apparently, they had reached out to frugal blogs in the past with regards to a casting call for an episode they wanted to do last year about a coupon-cutting family. They’re doing it again this year.

Earn $20,000 By Starring In The Reality Show “Wife Swap”

This time around, they are looking for a family who enjoys simple and frugal living, and who has unique ideas for saving money. Looks to me that during tough times like we have now, this episode will be very apropos! Now I’m thinking, what kind of household will they pair up with such a family? A profligate family who loves to spend? Uh-oh! Whatever fireworks you end up with on a show like this, some of you may decide that it’s worth the $20,000 that ABC is offering for your time and trouble.

Anyway, I thought about this for all of two minutes and entertained the fantasy of being on a reality show. Hah! Unfortunately I’m too old to do singing contests (forget the American Idol career path), too feeble for Survivor, too boring for Big Brother and too navigationally-challenged and slow for the Amazing Race (plus I have plane phobia).

reality show, casting call, ABC Wife Swap

Enough chatter, let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s ABC’s message:

ABC’s Casting Call

Because of the current state of the economy, we would like to feature a family that values simple living or chooses to live a frugal and simplistic lifestyle on the show. We would especially love to cast a family that has really unique ways to save money.

We are looking for a two parent home (you don’t have to be married) that has children between the ages of 7 and 17 living at home full time. The family can have younger and older children as well — as long as they have one child between our age ranges.

This is a very unique experience that can be life changing for everyone. In addition, each family that tapes an episode of Wife Swap receives a $20,000 honorarium for their time. Anyone who refers a family that appears on our program receives $1000 as a “thank you” from us. Please feel free to forward this email on to anyone that you feel might be interested.

In case you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the moms switch place to experience how another family lives. Half of the week, Mom lives the life of the family she is staying with. Then she introduces a “rule change” where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It’s a positive experience for people to not only learn but teach about other families and other ways of life.

Wife Swap airs Friday nights on ABC at 8pm (the family hour)!

Please let me know if you know of anyone that might be interested in this opportunity. Feel free to let them contact me directly at either of the following email addresses: or

By the way, if you do get picked for the show (who knows, I can dream!) and you mention that I referred you, I may get a finder’s fee. If you win this lottery, we’d love to hear about it!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily@remodelingthislife March 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for linking back to the FOF. If I had a kid between ages 7 and 17 I would love to go on that show. Just the thought of someone really rich and spoiled coming to live my life for however long it is on the show makes me snicker a little.

FFB March 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Ahhh, I wondered what incentive there was for a family to go through with the swap. I guess $20k could be worth it. But not enough for my wife and I.

Thanks for the mention!

The Digerati Spouse March 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I think we would make a great couple for Amazing Race… we would doubtless bicker the whole time which would be highly amusing!

Silicon Valley Blogger March 18, 2009 at 8:37 pm

In any such hypothetical journey, your homing pigeon navigational skills would at least save us from terrible embarrassment. Still, there are people who just aren’t meant to be in front of cameras (clearly, that would be us). 😀

Greener Pastures March 19, 2009 at 6:09 am

Hmmmmm…. what will they think of next on these reality shows? I honestly think that you can find people somewhere that will do just about anything!

Thanks for the mention of the Carnival of Debt Reduction— Lisa

Miss M March 19, 2009 at 6:23 am

No thanks, even though I don’t meet their criteria. They intentionally pair you with someone who will drive you nuts. They want fireworks to make for good TV and I hate drama, I’d be miserable.

jim March 19, 2009 at 7:17 am

I wish I was a wife hahaha I’d do this in a second, $20k would just be the icing on the cake! (it’s amazing the shows can pay that much)

Amazing race would be awesome too, my wife and I would argue over everything. hahaha

rocketc March 19, 2009 at 7:56 am

My kids are too young for wife-swap – although I did send a note to the producer. I think Mrs. Rocket and I would be a good fit for the show.

I would just about kill to be on Survivor. If you get any casting calls for that show, I’m there.

Manshu March 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm

I don’t see what this show has to do with frugality and such, but, maybe that is just because I haven’t seen the show. I’d think that since they want kids in the trouble making age group, — the selling point of the show would be yelling kids and all that. Are there blogs for that?

Dana March 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I think I’ve heard of a guy who hit a million before 30 by going on reality shows and playing extras. Nice!

kitty March 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Manshu, this show is not about frugality. They normally take two families that are opposite of each other – e.g. a clean freak and someone who is really messy and switch wives. First week you live by the rule of the new family the next week you make changes. Once I read one of the families talking about the experience on a board and, apparently, they make some “creative” suggestions and some creative editing as well to fit into their view of how it should be. E.g. if you are a “messy” family, the producers may add a whole lot of mess to have the clean freak mom and us the viewers properly horrified. Some parts are staged for dramatic effect, but we aren’t supposed to know it. As with most reality shows, we shouldn’t really believe everything we see.

So the way it’ll work for a frugal family: they’ll find some family that is as bad with money as they can find – tons of credit card debt, no savings, lots of useless shiny things at home, eating out in expensive restaurants, buying $1000 shoes, whatever. Then they switch you. If they feel you aren’t sufficiently frugal, they may add a few touches to make you look cheaper than you normally are. If they feel the other family doesn’t spend enough for their taste, they’ll add a few things to make it appear that they do.

This is my understanding anyway. I watched a few shows; also read a couple of participants telling not to believe everything we see – some families are indeed as crazy as they appear, others are considerably more normal. It’s a bit too repetitive, though, with some lines repeated every show.

Manshu March 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for the explanation Kitty.

I read your interview SVB, you share some very useful tips. Thanks.

Cap March 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Maybe its just me.. but 20k doesn’t feel like its enough for exposing yourself and your family to the national media, potentially to be criticized or poked fun at. I mean its a large sum, but IMO maybe it needs another ~10k or so.

Probably being a bit too greedy and thinking too much into it.. its not like I’m the one doing it.

Angel July 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm

I don’t know about all this. I watch the show for ideas but I am easily angered and I don’t think I would do so good with another family. I’m not really laid back with myself. I am a full-time college student and a stay-at-home mother. All of my schoolwork is done online. My son is 4 and I allow him to do whatever he wants in his room but not in mine. I’m a little OCD. My husband works as a towtruck driver day and night so I am responsible for everything. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could never go on this show even if I had a kid in the age range.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I agree, shows like these are definitely not for everyone, even with the compensation.

crystal lawson November 2, 2012 at 7:44 am

I would like to be on wife swap. I have 3 kids with 2 living at home and a step daughter that hates my guts. I could use some advice on how to let her know i love her as if she is my own.

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