Eating Raoul

With all the sexy, streamlined new cord-cutting options on the market, TV can no longer take its relationship with viewers for granted. How is boring old TV, all the extra channels it’s acquired over the years stuffed into a pair of frayed old sweatpants, supposed to compete with HBO Now, which doesn’t even require the commitment of a cable bundle to hook up (viewers with the newest programming from the premium channel)? It’s time to bring out the big guns, by which, of course, we mean wife swapping.

To be completely honest, cable has tried this kind of thing before. First, it tried an A&E reality show about swingers in suburban Ohio, but that was canceled after just two episodes. Then it agreed to have sex in a box on WE tv’s descriptively titled Sex Box, but that, too, failed to reignite the spark. Now, in a desperate attempt to salvage whatever love is left between it and an increasingly restless TV-watching public, the A&E subsidiary FYI Network (Motto: “FYI, we exist”) will take a break between airings of Celebrity Ghost Stories and Married At First Sight to give The Seven Year Switch a go.

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The show sounds rather like an “adult” version of ABC’s Wife Swap, as four couples, each at “a crossroads in their relationship,” will be given the opportunity to move in with a total stranger for two weeks in what is being referred to as an “experimental marriage.” According to the network, these trial spouses will live, eat, and even, as they so coyly put it, “sleep” together. At the end of the experiment, the original couples will reunite for a month as they decide whether they will stay together or divorce. If the series takes off, expect there to be a run on fish bowls at your local Petco.