Husband's arrest halts 'Wife Swap' production
By IAN DEMSKY
Restaurateur charged after daughter injured
Production was halted on an episode of ABC's reality TV show Wife Swap being filmed in Nashville after one of the participants was arrested and charged with punching his 13-year-old daughter in the face Tuesday evening, network and police officials said yesterday.
Yanni Panagiotakis, 38, who owns the Athens Family Restaurant on Franklin Road with his wife, Dina, was charged with domestic assault late Tuesday and freed yesterday morning on $1,000 bail, Metro police said.
Reached at their restaurant yesterday afternoon, Dina Panagiotakis said neither she nor her husband would comment, citing the advice of their attorney.
''Please leave us alone so we can get our lives back together,'' she said.
Wife Swap, a popular reality television series, features two families who trade matriarchs for 10 days. According to an ABC Web site, the show allows families to experience how other families run their lives.
Yanni Panagiotakis on Tuesday had driven his daughter to a friend's house on Haydenberry Cove while a four-person film crew from the show traveled in another vehicle in front of them, police said.
In an arrest affidavit, police initially said that the film crew had witnessed the father striking the girl. But police revised that account yesterday, saying the employees arrived shortly after the alleged attack and noticed the girl had obvious injuries to her nose and cheek.
She told the crew members that her father had struck her several times in the face with his fist for not wearing a coat, police said.
The Wife Swap crew took the child to a nearby doctor's office for treatment and then to Saint Thomas Hospital for X-rays. The father did not accompany them.
The girl was examined and released Tuesday evening from Saint Thomas. Afterward, the film crew took her and her 9-year-old brother to a local hotel, accompanied by a representative from the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.
''First and foremost, the well-being of all of the participants in Wife Swap is a top priority,'' ABC officials said in a statement released yesterday. ''At the first realization that the daughter of the Nashville-based family participating in the episode that has been shooting over the past week needed medical attention, the producers immediately sought treatment for her.''
Dina Panagiotakis, who was being filmed with a family in California, flew back to Nashville, and production in both locations was halted permanently.