EM: HE Harris Sextuplets preview
When the "extreme" nine-member Harris family from Birmingham, Alabama received the remarkable news that their house would get an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," Chris and Diamond Harris were thankful that some of the exhaustion that stems from taking care of their toddler sextuplets and nine-year-old son DeWayne would finally be relieved. The episode will air Sunday, March 6 (8:00-9:00 PM) on ABC.
When Diamond Harris couldn't get pregnant, she and Chris turned to a specialist for help. The couple was overjoyed, then, when they learned that Diamond was pregnant with multiples. At first the sonogram had shown that there were two babies, and then a second ultrasound showed five. But the Harrises didn't learn until the day of delivery (at 26-1/2 weeks) that there was yet another baby -- bringing the total to an astonishing six - four boys and two girls. Today the Harris Sextuplets, who are now two-and-a-half years old, are America's first-ever surviving set of African American sextuplets.
When Diamond was pregnant, she was put on bed-rest and had to leave her nursing job. Chris' salary as a third-grade teacher wasn't sufficient to cover their expenses, and soon they found their home in foreclosure. Fortunately their wonderful neighbors rallied around them and raised enough money to stop the bank proceedings. But the 2000-sq. ft., three-bedroom house was in desperate need of repair, and matters were made worse when Hurricane Ivan sent a tree crashing through the living room, which had become the children's playroom.
The Harris family's house would need a lot of things, including being made a safer house generally, plus a new playroom for six very busy toddlers. Because there were so many children in the family, design team leader Ty Pennington thought some "child experts" should be brought in to help. The Muppets themselves heeded his call: Fozzie helped carpenter Paul DiMeo construct a special photo frame for DeWayne's room; Kermit competed with Ty by running around with a mini-bullhorn to warn everyone how much time was left before the family was due home; Animal helped load furniture into the house; and Miss Piggy performed like the diva she is by demanding a script for her lines while shamelessly flirting with Ty.
Additional help came from Florence Henderson, whose character, Carol Brady from the classic TV show, "The Brady Bunch," knows a thing or two about raising children. One evening Chris and Diamond were treated to a much-needed romantic night out, while Ms. Henderson provided baby-sitting services. Other helpful volunteers on the site included DeWayne's Cub Scout troop, Pack 11.
The design team, homebuilder Signature Homes and hundreds of workers and volunteers solved the space issue to accommodate six adorable and energetic toddlers by building a 5,000-sq. ft. home, one of the show's largest to date. Meanwhile, the family went on vacation at Disney World.
The design team for this episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will feature team leader Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo, Michael Moloney, Constance Ramos and Eduardo Xol. The series is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It's executive-produced by Tom Forman and co-executive produced by Denise Cramsey.