The network that has managed to construct more fake prime time romances than any other will have a new spin this fall: a reality TV show about divorce.
Twelve squabbling couples will compete to have the most acrimonious divorce, with serial celebrity divorcee guest judges such as Liza Minnelli, who has married and divorced four times, providing commentary. The winners (or losers, depending on one's perspective) will be determined by nationwide vote.
Contestants will be judged on such factors as who has the nastier divorce lawyer, the role of infidelity, physical altercations, whether spouses are able to finagle their way out of prenuptial agreements and custodial agreements. The children of the bickering couple will be interviewed on the latter point to determine the emotional harm that has been caused by the divorce.
A Fox spokesman denied that the show was in any way exploitative of minors, saying that the interviews would be conducted by a trained psychiatrist "so it's actually free therapy."
Other actions that could lead to high vote tallies include dumping the spouse's clothing on the lawn, hacking into their e-mail accounts, authoring biting Facebook updates and getting all the mutual friends to shun the husband or wife.
The Fox spokesman said that part of the inspiration for the show came from Jon & Kate Plus 8, a reality TV show about Jon and Kate Gosselin and their eight children. Interest in the show peaked after they announced they would be divorcing.
In addition to Minnelli, Denise Richards is a rumored guest judge. Richards had an intensely public divorce with Charlie Sheen and had an E! reality TV show called "It's Complicated." Elizabeth Taylor and Larry King -- both of who have been married eight times to seven people -- "are our dream judges but they declined to participate," said the spokesman. "Maybe next year."
The couple determined to have the most acrimonious divorce will have their lawyer's fees paid by the network.