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'Celebrity Wife Swap': Gary Busey, Ted Haggard have a bad day

January 3, 2012 |  2:33 pm

Ted Haggard and Gary Busey
Reality TV will have another proud moment Tuesday night when disgraced pastor Ted Haggard and unstable one-time Oscar nominee Gary Busey trade spouses for ABC's "Celebrity Wife Swap." To promote their appearance on the show, Busey and Haggard appeared via satellite earlier in the day on Fox's "Good Day LA."

"Steve, do you remember the last time we talked?" Busey started the interview, then recalling for host Steve Edwards the interview they had after Busey's Oscar nomination in 1979. "You were very much a gentleman and very nice to me, and I've never forgotten that moment. You inspired me."

It's unlikely Busey will have such warm memories of this interview.

What followed was an awkward nine minutes of live TV that featured Haggard engaging in a contentious discussion of gay marriage with Jillian Reynolds, a virtually ignored Busey seemingly amusing himself in the monitor off camera, and a series of pauses caused by some kind of audio lag that seemed to affect only Busey.

Haggard seemed put off by the intro, in which Edwards described Haggard's scandal involving a male prostitute who claimed to have had sex with Haggard (which Haggard denied) and doing drugs with him (which Haggard admitted to). The scandal led to Haggard resigning as pastor at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and as head of the National Assn. of Evangelicals. Amazingly, he's remained married for the past five years and he's willing to let his wife spend a week with Gary Busey.

Shortly after the introduction, Haggard turned to Busey and commented, "That was a jumbled group of facts they had."

The rest of the interview is worth watching for Busey's facial expressions and occasional asides and for his reaction to Edwards' concluding suggestion that he say, "Amen!"

Chances are that ABC's "Celebrity Wife Swap" episode will be slicker and probably less entertaining than Tuesday morning's chat.

As for the wives who actually did the swapping? Barely discussed.


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— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Ted Haggard and his family, left, and Gary Busey and his family will particpate on Tuesday's edition of "Celebrity Wife Swap." Credit: ABC.