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October 21, 2014

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Quints’ dad’s legal woes may be a turn-off for reality television

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Deon Derrico leaves North Las Vegas Justice Court after a preliminary hearing Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

The Derrico Family

Evonne Derrico tends to her infant quintuplets as they sleep Monday, Nov. 22, 2013. Launch slideshow »

By all accounts, the Derrico family seems ripe for a reality television show. All the ingredients are there.

There’s the setting: a nice neighborhood in an ever-changing Las Vegas landscape.

The characters: a love-bird couple from Detroit trying to make good and raise a houseful of kids.

And tension: The quintuplets recently added to a set of four other children.

The pitch? Apparently well in the works: The quintuplets’ father, Deon Derrico, recently told The Sunday he has been talking with producers interested in plumbing his brood’s story for the small screen. A likely scene: dad changing lots of diapers.

But the 43-year-old dad may have to clean up some possible dirty laundry of his own before any project gets off the ground. That’s because the state of Nevada has charged him with real estate fraud. Derrico is now battling accusations of forgery and false representation in court.

Hollywood pros say litigation can stall projects.

A 15-year veteran of the reality television business, Sheila Conlin has made a name for herself as a Hollywood casting agent. As head of the Los Angeles-based Conlin Company, she has cast a rogues gallery of shows, including “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Nanny 9-1-1” and “Secret Millionaire.”

It’s Conlin’s job to make sure the subjects of her shows are everything they’re cracked up to be.

“There is a process,” said Conlin, who relies on her “gut instinct” to tell her whether a character is good enough for a show. Sometimes, she said, “they’re full of baloney.”

Conlin, who has cast many characters from Las Vegas, said she’s also dealt with people like Derrico — potential show subjects embroiled in legal troubles.

Though she would not go into details about specific cases, Conlin said it’s usually better to hold off on shows until matters are settled in court.

“I’m going to bring a bunch of attention to you that your lawyers don’t want,” Conlin said. “We can’t mess with those kinds of things. We don’t want to put anybody in danger.”

Even so, there’s hope in reality television for people with checkered pasts.

“We never discriminate or not pick somebody based on things they’ve done in their past,” Conlin said. “If you’ve done your crime and you’ve done your time, then there’s no reason why we can’t pick you.”

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