For the longest time, Niecy Nash figured her life was just too real for reality TV. As a newlywed with three children of her own, she was too busy blending her life with that of husband Jay Tucker and his son to worry about tossing tantrums or tables. So imagine her surprise when TLC came to her about starring in a reality show with her family.
“My knee-jerk reaction was, ‘No thank you! This isn’t for me,’” says the comedian. “There are so many of those shows on, with the drama and the fighting, and that’s not who I am. I’m a lover, not a fighter. I told the network that all my family and I do is laugh every day. The were like, ‘We love your family the way you are.’”
Which is why she said yes to “Leave It To Niecy,” the new TLC reality series that follows Nash, her mother (Margaret), her three children (Dominic, Donielle and Dia), Tucker, and his son (Romallis). The result is something the network bills as a “reality sit-com,” which suits Nash just fine.
“I like the idea of having family appointment TV,” she explains. “We haven’t really had that since ‘The Cosby Show.’ Everybody came in the room to watch that together. So it was important to me to make sure that if I was going to do this, it wouldn’t feel manufactured and it was something I could watch with my own family.”
Before saying yes to the series, Nash did run the idea by her entire family to make sure they wouldn’t mind having cameras around the house. After easing middle daughter Donielle’s worry that “they’re going to make us seem mean because that’s what those shows do,” everybody got on board. It didn’t take the kids long to adjust, according to their mom, because “they are comfortable with who they are. You don’t see them trying to peddle their wares on-camera. They just have a good sense of humor about everything, which has a lot to do with how they were raised.”
Catch Up on Full Episodes of “Leave it to Niecy”:
The first episode featured Nash doing everything from trying to get all the kids out doing an activity together – bike-riding and/or bowling were the operative choices – to trying to find a new mate for her mom. Later this season, Nash promises that episodes will delve into “our family vacation, having to deal with a child who is boy crazy and some life-changing decisions near the end of the season. I also took a job on a TV series called ‘Have Faith’ for TV Land while we were taping this show, where I play Cedric the Entertainer’s wife, so you’ll see some of that too.”
No matter what challenges or laughs her family has, the goal with each episode will be the same – get Nash’s new brood to do a very “Brady Bunch” blend. “This is something that I felt would help our family in the blending process,” she says. “The last thing you want to do with your family if you’re in that situation is train-wreck TV, and that’s also the last thing you want to watch.”
She’s particularly thrilled by the emails and Twitter messages she’s been getting since the premiere, with people saying “I watched your show with my children, or I watched with my mother. I’ve heard people say your life looks like mine, and that’s a real compliment. People should watch this show because it’s fun, funny and warm. When I watch it at home, I laugh out like as if I wasn’t there when they filmed it. It’s a nice change of pace form other reality shows out there.”
And nobody knows more about what’s out there to watch than Nash. She’s the consummate connoisseur of TV, so we asked her to serve as a guest editor by selecting her favorite television shows shows. Besides “Leave It To Niecy,” here are her choices – and a brief explanation why.
“FIRST 48“: I am a true-crime person. Murder, mayhem, the macabre….My husband always asks why I like death and destruction in shows and I tell him, “It’s because I’m waiting for that ‘Got ya!’ moment. I want to see the person not get away with the crime.
“DATELINE ID”: This is sort of the same thing as “First 48,” but they take you through the crime more and give you the whole back story. They start with the crime and then show you how it all happened.
“THE VOICE”: This is appointment TV for us. I watch with my family. The caliber of talent is so high! It doesn’t feel like you’re watching something that’s upscale karaoke. I love the mentorship they have too. It’s so great that they have people coming in to help the singers, to polish and refine them.
“DANCING WITH THE STARS“: I hadn’t followed the show until they asked me to compete on it. I hadn’t been in a leotard since the 8th grade, so this was like my dancing comeback. It’s a fun show to watch but it was even more fun to be one. Every time I go to watch, I bring my dancing shoes just in case…..
“PARENTHOOD”: It’s like what you see on “Leave It To Niecy.” The show is so well written. The characters feel so relatable. From having children or deciding not to have children, to dealing with in-laws and outlaws, this is a great look at the ups and downs of having a family.
“HOUSE OF LIES”: I just love Don Cheadle. As me who I’d want to work with, and he’d be the one. I love how he breaks the Fourth Wall in this show. They’ve found a great, creative way to do it.
“JUDGE MATHIS”: I’m a big fan of this man. He’s no nonsense, and I love the fact that he’s been through many things in his life and he’s willing to use what he’s been through to help others.
“THE X FACTOR”: Unlike “The Voice,” there are more younger contestants on this show that my kids can relate to. Which is great. It’s more family appointment viewing. It’s fun to pick your favorites, and my kids love voting.