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The TLC series follows Spencer and Erica Shemwell as they bring their kids together and adjust to their new lives as a blended family

By Natalie Stone
February 18, 2021 12:00 PM
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TLC audiences, meet the Shemwell family!

This March, viewers will be officially introduced to Erica and Spencer Shemwell, who are both widowed, and their combined 11 children on the network's new series, The Blended Bunch.

Prior to the couple's introduction, mother of seven Erica — mom to Landon, 12, Emma, 10, Lily, 9, Sophie, 8, Tanner, 6, Amelia, 5, and Caleb, 3 — lost her husband, Tony, to cancer, while Spencer's wife Aimee — with whom he shared Brayden, 12, Harper, 8, Avery, 6, and Bexley, 4 — died in a car crash.

"My husband, Tony, passed away from brain cancer three years ago — I feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest," Erica, 33, says in the series supertease, exclusively debuted by PEOPLE.

Spencer, 32, remembers the heart-wrenching moment he had to tell his kids about Aimee's death. "I said, 'Mommy passed away,'" he tearfully recalls. "I thought there was no way that I could ever love anyone like Aimee."

The Blended Bunch
The Blended Bunch
| Credit: Courtesy TLC

Following their devastating losses, Erica and Spencer met via an online widower support group, where their love story began. After 13 months, the couple said "I do."

"We're kind of like the modern-day Brady Bunch," Erica says of their brood, as Spencer adds, "Except we have no Alice — we need an Alice."

The upcoming series follows the Shemwells and the challenges they face — including squabbles with step-siblings and struggles over adoption — as they bring 11 children (all under the age of 13!) together under the same roof and attempt to adjust to their new lives as a blended family in Utah.

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Among the difficulties they encounter, Erica confesses that "sometimes, I really just wonder if there are moments when Spencer wishes that Aimee was here instead of me."

She also has episodes where she can't seem to catch her breath, she admits to her brother, Quinn, who says to cameras: "Spencer, why do you not have a clue your wife has panic attacks?"

Quinn also struggles with his nieces and nephews taking Spencer's last name.

"As your brother, I think about if I died, I don't know if I would want my kid to have somebody else's last name," Quinn says after Spencer announces that the couple is "adopting the kids."

While speaking with Spencer, Quinn says, "I went through that whole traumatic experience with terminal cancer. And then here somebody wants to marry my sister. I mean, really, my true feeling is kind of like, 'What are you doing?'"

Howard Lee, President of TLC, said in a statement about the new series: "Our family series are a cornerstone of programming at TLC and these days, the word family has expanded to mean many things. We are constantly evolving and the Shemwells are a wonderful reflection of the varied families in today's world."

The Blended Bunch premieres March 16 at 9 p.m. ET on TLC.