The Marriage Ref is a reality television series hosted by comedian Tom Papa, which first aired on NBC on February 28, 2010. On May 13, 2012, NBC cancelled the series.
The premise of the show involves real life couples who have been having an on-going fight for a long time. A video clip is shown to the three-member celebrity panel, showing both sides of the argument. The celebrity panel (consisting of recently married, recently divorced, or those with long histories of relationship success or failure) then discuss the merits of each side of the argument and vote on who they think is right.
In addition to the celebrity panel, there is a celebrity fact checker who can provide additional information to aid in the decision making. In the episode with Madonna, for instance, Maria Menounos fills this role. Though the Marriage Ref may take their advice, he is free to make up his own mind about who is right.
StarringTom Papa, (weekly celebrity panel)
Not usually my cup of tea at all, I caught the first episode out of sheer boredom and laughed myself silly. It was all light hearted fun, with the most ridiculous marital disputes you can imagine. the best part of course being the interaction and comments of the celebrity panel. The Ricky Gervais episodes are my favorites.
Season 2 found itself with an altered format and it lost something. There was too much focus on the fight and not enough frivolity. You got a sense that they were being just a bit more explotative of the couples. Probably the network's interfearnce aimed to "fix" a show that wasn't doing well in the ratings. As is usually the case, the network doesn't know what it's talking about.