Interview with Mike Gamson of "Wife Swap" on ABC - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Mike Gamson

Interview with Mike Gamson of "Wife Swap" on ABC

I got to interview "Wife Swap" executive producer Mike Gamson. For once, I was allowed to ask many questions! He seemed like a very nice guy (with a cute British accent). He was very proud and passionate about his work on the show. I don't like reality shows too much, but talking to him made me want to watch the show.

Here is the transcript from the chat!

The Walt Disney Company-ABC
Moderator: Ellen Gonzalez
March 15, 2010
3:30 p.m. CT

Operator: Welcome to Disney’s Wife Swap call with Ellen Gonzalez as the leader.

This call is being recorded. By staying on this call, you are confirming that you consent to this recording. If you
do not wish to be recorded, please disconnect from the call at this time. Thank you. Ms. Gonzalez, you may begin your call.

Ellen Gonzalez: Hi there. Do I have Christine and Suzanne Lanoue? Hello?

Operator: The lines are open.

Ellen Gonzalez: Hi there. This is Christine from Cable TV Examiner and Suzanne from The TV MegaSite on the line?

Suzanne: Yes.

Ellen Gonzalez: Hi guys. Thanks so much for joining us. Mike Gamson is on. He’s the executive producer of Wife Swap, and so please go ahead and ask him a few questions. We’re really looking forward to a fabulous season and Mike will give you some great preview information.

Mike Gamson: Hello. How are you? This is Mike speaking.

Suzanne: Hello.

Mike Gamson: Hello.

Suzanne: I was wondering what you could tell us about the upcoming season.

Mike Gamson: Sure. The upcoming season, our casting team has done an outstanding job and we’ve got some fantastic families coming up.

One of the – one of the great shows is the premier episode where we have a mom from New Jersey who collects reborn dolls, which are lifelike human dolls. She’s a fantastic mom with a very unusual hobby, to say the least.

As well as featuring – we also have ballet dancing (girls), a family who believe the world may end in 2012, and a huge – we got our first ever football-playing family as well. And the thing that’s great about the season is, well, it stick to all the things that are fantastic.

Well, there are families with interesting sort of headlines, if you will, the great thing is that it all feeds back
into what Wife Swap is really about, is – which is parenting and family dynamics and, you know, we have some fantastic mothers who really bring some definite, you know, benefits into the households that they come in to, which is the heart of the show.

Suzanne: Great. What are some surprises, if there are any, that you can tell us about?

Mike Gamson: I think the families are surprising in themselves. There’s no twists on the format because the format is so proven, obviously, after six seasons that it is – (inaudible) show that really works the way it is, so there’s no introductions of anything unusual.

But I think the surprises of the families and how diverse they are, you know, from, you know, hockey skaters to
family bands to, you know, superheroes, even. People who recreate life in the 1840’s who swapped with a family who are 21st Century digital family. There’s just, you know, there are surprises in the show and it’s the way that the families and the wives tackle the experience.

And also, it’s very funny, this season. I mean, we have some genuinely very funny characters appearing on the show.

Suzanne: Right. That makes sense. Why mess with the format if it works for you?

Mike Gamson: No. I mean, I think some time ago in maybe Season Three we tried to twist. It didn’t work because it’s simply, it worked so very well and, you know, the casting is the big thing that makes the show the success it is, and we’ve got one of the best casting teams in television and, you know, we bring – we have wives who really bring things to the table and they care very much about the experience and they care about the family that they meet and they make fantastic, you know – they care very much and make great changes when they, you know, attempt to bring their new rules in. And when families embrace those changes, they you have, you know, really quite moving scenes which occur during a number of the shows.

Suzanne: Do you ever worry from year to year that you’ll have a less interesting or entertaining show, or pretty much by the time that you start filming you know from the casting?

Mike Gamson: You sometimes think, oh well – I mean, at the end of the last season, it was a fantastic season the last season and we have an extraordinarily diverse selection of families from sort of (inaudible) to yoga therapists to – what else were there? Western cowboys and stuff like that. And you – there’s a point where you think, good Lord. Will we be able to, you know, find such fascinating families again?

But because of the fantastic casting team we have and, you know, who come up with ideas as to the type of families we might like for, this season is as varied as you could possibly imagine.

Suzanne: What do you think makes your show so popular and has such staying power after all these years?

Mike Gamson: I think the – at the heart of it, it’s about families. It’s about, you know, everybody’s – you know, generally speaking, the most important thing to people are their families and the way they raise their children and they hope for the best for their children and they raise their children the best way they can. And that’s the most important thing in people’s lives apart from work, and the way that the family and the home dynamic works is very important to everybody.

And that’s why it speaks to such a large number of viewers is that they get the chance to compare the way they
parent, to compare the way they run their home, to compare the relationship that they have with their husband and children, to, you know, what they’re seeing play out, and it raises – you know, it makes people, you know, ask questions and gives some conversation points. And because family is so very much at the heart of the show and so very much at the heart of, you know, millions of Americans, that’s why I think it has such longevity and, you know, it renews itself each time because different subjects are brought up each time.

Suzanne: That makes sense. People tune in because they’re interested in the type of people and then they’re drawn in because they can relate to it on their own family…

Mike Gamson: Absolutely. Yes. I know. I think (that spoke so much). That’s exactly it.

Suzanne: All right. And if I’d never watched the show before, what would make me initially want to watch it – tune in after six years?

Mike Gamson: I think that (you choose) – what would make you want to watch is that we have families that you probably wouldn’t imagine sort of would live the lives that they live and that they’re fascinating right from the very outset. As soon as you see the – what we have at the beginning, as you meet the family at the beginning of the show, and I think the viewers will be fascinated by the huge variety and diversity of the families and the fact that, you know, the show is hugely fun as well.

I think it’s – people are surprised sometimes – the show is very funny, but, also, it’s very emotional. It’s not
just a load of – you know, it’s just not people shouting at each other. It’s a very emotional journey for a lot of the people that participate because, again, it’s about, you know, family dynamics, and that’s very important.

Suzanne: What do you hope for in the future of the show besides, obviously, it going on? Is there anything you’re thinking of for the future?

Mike Gamson: I’m so exhausted by the last season, I – what I hope is that – I mean, we continue to sort of have families and wives who can bring so much to other families. I think that’s the most, you know, fascinating thing, and when they bring conversation and caring into another family and they want to change things, that’s when it makes a great show and that’s what I’d like to see it continue to do.

Suzanne: OK. Well, I wish you luck with it and I hope it works out the way you want it to this season. I’ll be
tuning in.

Mike Gamson: I’m glad to hear it. Thank you very much.

Suzanne: Thank you.

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