Meet a new kind of reality TV family. TLC's "Leave It to Niecy" (premieres Sun., Mar. 25, 10 p.m. ET) is an eight-episode, half-hour series that follows Niecy Nash and her family, including her new husband, Jay Tucker, whom she married on the TLC special "Niecy Nash's Wedding Bash" last year; their combined four children; and Niecy's mom, Miss Margaret.
They're calling this a "docu-sitcom," with the feel of a traditional sitcom, but none of the scripting. Of course some of the clips feel a bit staged -- not more than, say, sending the "Jersey Shore" cast to Italy and having them work in a pizza joint though -- but Nash and Tucker swear that this is just their family, funnier than average though they may be. (Check out our exclusive sneak peek of the premiere, below, to see for yourself.)
I caught up with the happy couple, still very much acting like lovey-dovey newlyweds, to talk about why they decided to do a reality show. (Yes, Niecy is a comedian and actress, but Jay is an electrical engineer -- hardly your average reality TV star.) They also dished about their most embarrassing moments the cameras captured, and the unique deal Niecy struck with her mom before she moved in: "She cooks all the food, and I cook in the bedroom," Niecy said. "It's perfect."
What made you guys decide to do this show?
Niecy: "Our kids are funny to us, but I just didn't now if it would translate to other people. We did our wedding special, not to be like, 'Ooh look, another celebrity wedding,' but I knew so many women who were divorced or had lost in love, and they were waiting until their children got older to start over. I wanted to give them permission to get a do-over, right now. If you want to be in love, let's pursue it and get the party going! And after that, TLC said, 'Oh my gosh, your family is delicious.' And I was like, 'Huh? Really?' And they said they wanted to keep the party going with us."
Jay: "I thought we could show a brand of love that's not really portrayed. You think of reality, you think of tables getting turned over, all of those sorts of things, and I think our relationship can be inspirational for some people. We've got our blended family, and she's over the top and I'm more low key, but we love each other and we're gonna make it work."
You are so cute together, and really don't have a problem showing affection. Might we have another baby on the way soon?
Niecy: "Oh my goodness -- I wish I could give him a little chocolate, gap-toothed baby! But I got my plumbling adjusted, so that's not gonna happen."
Jay: "But we'll just keep trying, right? [Laughs.]"
Jay, beyond being married to Niecy, you are a pretty "normal" guy -- did you or the kids hesitate about doing this show at all?
Jay: "We talked to TLC, and we had conversations about making sure it's not sensational or exploitative -- it's just us."
Niecy: "And that's when I was like, 'Are you sure you want to put cameras on us? Because all we do is make jokes, make money and make love. [Laughs.] That's what we do."
Jay: "[Laughs.] Not necessarily in that order."
They're calling this a "docu-sitcom" -- with elements of a sitcom in there for sure -- but is it scripted at all?
Niecy: "A lot of shows can feel scripted sometimes ... honestly, ours complete is not. The formula we used was: 'Here's a snapshot of everything we have going on over the next few months. You're welcome to film any of it, all of it, none of it -- whatever you'd like to show. This is what we're doing, whether you show up or not."
Well you can tell that they've captured real moments, but it's almost like the family is too funny not to be a little scripted.
Niecy: "It's absolutely not scripted. I color it: Bringing reality back to reality TV. I only want to show things that are authentic and real to our journey, and that's all we allowed them to do."
Jay: "It's our real life. We just happened to let the camera in to let them see how we're blending the families."
With that blending, Jay and the boys are kind of outnumbered with these ladies now. How have you been bonding with the girls?
Niecy: "Oh I'll tell it. He has definitely stepped up to the challenge. I was at a photoshoot, and my daughter was having a slumber party. He filled in the gap and manned the girls, and when I came back, he was runway ready. Makeup and everything."
Jay: "The things you do for love!"
Niecy: "A full face of makeup, and watching 'The Notebook'!"
That's amazing. Niecy, people already feel like they know you, but is there something in this show that might surprise even your fans?
Niecy: "Yeah, they've seen a lot because I'm a transparent gal, but the one thing people have not seen is Niecy the mom, Niecy the wife ... Niecy the lover."
You all are like teenagers!
Jay: "And we don't plan on that ending."
Niecy: "No. It's been like this since Day 1. We've only been married a few months, but I met him in September 2009, and ever since that second date when I was giving him this good old hot buttery kiss ... he was in."
OK, so will we see you do boring everyday stuff too, like running carpool?
Niecy: "Honey, that's where my mother comes in! You can't just be up in here rent-free -- you gotta earn your keep! Get in that carpool! Cook that breakfast! [Laughs.] She lives in our guest house, and we made a deal -- she said, 'You're getting married, and I need you to tell Jay that I'm coming along for the ride.' And I said, 'Well, whoa whoa whoa -- I will see you coming along for the ride if you take care of my husband from the navel up. You've gotta feed him! You do the cooking, and I got him from the navel down.' And she agreed. She cooks all the food, and I cook in the bedroom. It's perfect."
"Leave It to Niecy" premieres Sun., Mar. 25, 10 p.m. ET on TLC.