Amy Levin: If you haven’t heard the recent Ted Haggard news (due to living in your closet, or Ted Haggard’s for that matter), the “disgraced pastor” has one more shameful sin to add to his long list: Celebrity Wife Swap. Ex-pastor of New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs, Haggard is infamously known for his three-year sex scandal (2003-6) with former male prostitute Mike Jones (not to mention purchase of methamphetamines). The scandal cost him his job, home, and reputation. Charges of hypocrisy swelled the media as sources invoked Haggard’s public decries of homosexuality and his belief in the sanctity of marriage.
But we all know (sex) scandals make for great reality TV, and even bad publicity is still publicity. Haggard’s fall may have been far (in fact, near-death), but public confessions are the first step toward stardom. First it was talk shows and divorce court, then he moved up to documentaries on TLC and HBO, and now he’s really made it. Today Haggard and actor Gary Busey will film the first episode of Celebrity Wife Swap at the GLBT pride center in Colorado Springs for ABC. According to HuffPost Entertainment:
Haggard and Busey, who is a born again Christian, will trade wives and have cameras follow them around as the women try to reshape the other man’s home and family life.
Gayle Haggard isn’t new to the spotlight either, both escorting her husband on his media roadmap and documenting her experience via her new book, Why I Stayed. Ted Haggard will live with Busey’s longtime girlfriend (and the mother of his newborn child), actress Steffanie Sampson.