New Reality Shows/Doc.: Couples Retreat, Utopia, and 'Fight Church'



Fox Eyes Reality Show About Struggling Couples Who Switch Partners For Weekend

Is Fox heading back to Temptation Island? I hear that the network is in talks for a pilot order to Couples Retreat, a new reality project that would put couples to the test. Unlike Fox’s controversial Temptation Island, which was trying to break couples whose relationship was not strong enough, Couples Retreat aims at helping couples whose relationships are struggling using an unconventional method: “each agree to go on a fantasy weekend with the opposite-gender partner of a similarly matched couple.”

The provocative concept, which likely will draw swinging-couple references, is sure to raise eyebrows. The project, which is now casting, comes from Red Arrow-backed Kinetic Content, run by Chris Coelen, who previously worked on ABC’s Wife Swap.

Under new Fox alternative topper Simon Andreae, the network has been pushing the envelope with provocative social-experiment shows like Couples Retreat and the upcoming series Utopia, in which a group of strangers is isolated from the world in order to build a new society. The big-budget Utopia, created by John de Mol, is in preproduction.

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Controversial 'Fight Church' Pits Pastor vs. Pastor

A new movie, "Fight Church," raises the unusual question: "Can you love your neighbor while kneeing him in the face?" The documentary, by directors Daniel Junge and Bryan Storkel, is about pastors who practice mixed martial arts with their parishioners.

"Tough guys need Jesus, too," one parishioner explained in the trailer for the film.

The controversial topic is raising eyebrows because Jesus obviously preached nonviolence and turning the other cheek. But Pastor Paul Burress, featured in the movie, defends his unlikely evangelization techniques. "We don't fight out of meanness," Burress of Trinity Church in Rochester, N.Y., told ABC News. "We have no hate or bitterness in our heart."

Some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts today are featured in the film. "I probably wouldn't be in the position I am today if I wasn't a Christian," explained Jon Jones, a professional MMA fighter.

Despite the critics, the pastors of "Fight Church" stand by their mission. "We've been able to reach an awful lot of people that never would have walked into a normal church service before, but they'll come over and do some fitness training or do some jiu-jitsu," Burress said.

The documentary premieres April 24 at the Independent Film Festival of Boston. [Trailer at source.]

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