The TLC network has something special in store for fans of wholesome, family-focused reality TV shows like 18 Kids and Counting but have said to themselves, “Man, I wonder what this would look like if there was a drop of melanin added.” Deon and Karen Derrico are the stars of TLC’s Doubling Down with the Derricos, along with their veritable traffic jam of 14 biological children. Since you’ve read that number, it should be apparent why they were picked to have a reality show. That’s nearly a classroom size of kids!
“We didn’t plan on having this many kids, but we did plan to have a lot. I asked my wife how many she wanted, and she told me ‘as many as God will bless me with.’ That was my golden moment, and I knew she was the one for me,” Deon says. The Derricos moved to Las Vegas from Detroit six years ago so that Deon could take advantage of the real estate market.
The second time they made the news for their large family, TLC proposed a show. “It moved like lightning! After that first sizzle reel, TLC reached out and brought us into the fold. After that, it was commonplace to have a camera in the house, and we adapted very quickly to it,” Deon says.
As is the case with many couples trying to conceive, the process of building their family wasn’t entirely easy or without heartbreak. Karen experienced multiple miscarriages and complications before and in between her successful pregnancies due to an issue with progesterone, a hormone that helps the placenta and forming fetus “stick” to the walls of the uterus.
The stigma and shame surrounding lost pregnancy and miscarriage often keeps women from discussing and fully understanding their reproductive issues. According to the National Library of Medicine, Black women have an increased risk of miscarriage compared to white women, concentrated between 10 and 20 weeks.
“More people need to be aware of those issues and be willing to talk to their partner honestly about them. We were devastated, but we also stuck by each other, talked and supported each other until we figured out what was wrong, how to deal with it and how to make it through,” Deon says.
When it comes to managing such a large, varied household, Deon says the key to keeping peace is a strict, scheduled routine – especially when it comes to cleaning and schoolwork. “My wife is primarily the stay-at-home parent, and I bring home income, but she definitely has the harder job. She’s always been anal and OCD with order and cleanliness and schoolwork. We wash clothes every day, we never allow dishes to pile up. We found the perfect order and just kept rolling with it.”
He says that, thankfully, the family hasn’t felt the pinch of the pandemic in many significant ways. Shopping in bulk and homeschooling an entire classroom were definitely challenging, but Deon says his life and experience as a Detroiter prepared him for it.
“Honest to God’s truth, there’s something about my personality that always has to be doing a lot. So, my lifestyle makes sense when you look at it that way. I’ve always been under a lot of pressure and action, but I never see it as pressure – I thrive in it,” Deon says.
Doubling Down with the Derricos will be a glimpse into the Derricos’ hectic daily life and how large minority families love, discipline and interact with one another. Deon says that he’s most excited to be able to show the world what Black family life looks like.
“The response to this has been amazing. People reach out with feedback and say they’re excited to see themselves on the screen for once, and I know this show is helping to break some of those stereotypes people have about Black people, families and men. In every way, we’ve been blessed with this.”