Having a new mom or wife for a week is unimaginable for most people. But for the families on Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy, it's an eye-opening learning experience that turns their worlds upside down with surprisingly positive results. The Season 3 premiere (tonight at 8 pm/ET, on Fox) opens with two families who find that their biggest differences lie in their religious beliefs. TVGuide.com talked with story producer Danielle King about choosing families, developing the new season and then letting the cameras roll.
TVGuide.com: Why did you choose these two families to premiere the new season?
Danielle King: The "Martin/Shatz" episode contains the essence of what we try to do at Trading Spouses bring down cultural barriers. We've got a Christian mom from Appalachia and an Orthodox Jewish mom [from Boston] whose worlds have never touched in the past. Our show is about taking people out of their comfort zones, and when you [do that], there's an opportunity for real growth as it allows people to see a different culture and a different way of life, not just different parenting styles.
TVGuide.com: Will you be showing a lot of religiously disparate situations this season?
King: No, I wouldn't say a lot. But I think that religion is a big part of a lot of people's families in general, so there may be touches of that throughout.
TVGuide.com: Are you showing any family situations that you haven't in the past?
King: Yes. There will definitely be some surprises.
TVGuide.com: Anything that you can tease us about?
King: All I can say is there will be some familiar faces, and the topics and themes for each of the shows will definitely broaden our horizons.
TVGuide.com: What are some changes we'll see this season?
King: All of the shows are so different because people in general are so different. Even though I've been producing this show for quite some time, every situation, every family feels like a new show.
TVGuide.com: In the season premiere, the Martins take their new mom, Lisa, hunting, even though she is against it. Do the moms have to participate no matter what, or can they refrain?
King: We never force anyone to do something that they are absolutely against we would never have a vegetarian eat meat but everyone is encouraged to try something new. Everyone is encouraged to embrace the new family's values, but certainly not to the extent where they do things they're uncomfortable with.
TVGuide.com: Do the producers suggest that the moms try certain activities with the new family, or do they come up with ideas on their own?
King: It is a wholly organic process. There are so many people that come to us, but we're still finding that we're actually going out and looking for families. And so we're very, very fortunate when we do find families that prove "Truth is better than fiction." We really don't have to write any kind of script for them. They write it themselves.
TVGuide.com: On that note, do you receive a good amount of entries from families who want to do the show but maybe don't fit?
King: We receive lots of entries.
TVGuide.com: Is it that you don't think they'll be interesting enough? What makes you go and seek out different people?
King: Sometimes the people that come to us are coming for the right reasons, but we have a wonderful casting team and they have a great nose for going out and finding interesting families that are open to the process. The most important thing that we look for are people who are looking for a challenge, looking to be set outside their comfort zones.
TVGuide.com: What is the most common reaction you get from the families after they go through the experience?
King: I find that almost everyone that goes through the process although it may have been exceedingly difficult comes out of it with a great sense of satisfaction. It's like any human experience where it might be hell while you're getting through it, but when you look back, it's the moments that really push your limits that make you grow, that give you insight about yourself and broaden your perspective.
TVGuide.com: Have you ever had to stop taping episodes because families were too upset or spouses gave up?
King: We do have people who, when faced with certain situations, react in ways that are unexpected even to themselves, but I don't recall anything that's gotten to a point where we've had to stop filming.
TVGuide.com: Why should people tune in this season?
King: This is going to be our best season. I've been [working] on this [show] since Season 1, Episode 1, and it keeps getting better and better, which is wonderful, because you'd think the opposite. You'd think that people would start to be more aware of the cameras and less willing to play, but it's really not true. People really lose themselves in the process. Maybe it's just a hats-off to our wonderful casting, but this season we've got some of the most dynamic families we've ever had.
TVGuide.com: Do you think viewers want to watch
families that are totally different from their own?
King: They might look at a family and see themselves, and the best scenario is when [that family] is paired up with a family that [the viewers] might be very cautious of and go, "I would never want to be in a family like that." What's important is that they see a little bit of themselves in one family and they see another family that they're a little bit afraid of. That makes for compelling television.
Hey, reality-TV fans! The new TV Guide features an interview with Dancing with the Stars' Mario Lopez.
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