“I was surprised when Woody asked me to come back,” she tells us, referring to Executive Producer Woody Fraser. But the supermodel cum actress and TV host didn’t hesitate. “I thought, ‘OK, I’m coming!’”
The Hallmark Channel’s revamped new millennium version of the popular 1990s daytime domestic lifestyle program began last year with Mark Steines of “ET” fame and Paige Davis, who became a viewer favorite back on TLC’s “Trading Spaces.” Ferrare admits she felt somewhat uneasy about stepping into Davis’ place when Davis left the L.A.-based “Home and Family” amid reports she was uncomfortable with the interviewing aspect of the show and wanted to return to her own home and family in New York.
“I was a little nervous because of the circumstances coming in,” Ferrare recalls. “I wanted to be respectful of everybody. I had a lot of familiar faces here. I did what I knew Woody would want me to do, and I had respect for myself. And it took literally, well, after the first day it was like smooth sailing then because everybody was so welcoming and lovely.”
Still, adjusting to the pace of the show took some getting used to. “It was rough in the beginning. After the first week, I said to my husband, ‘Oh my God, what did I get into?’ But it’s like riding a bike; you get back on, and it’s very natural.”
Ahthough Ferrare — whose long list of credits includes four years on “AM Los Angeles,” her gig as one of Oprah’s resident foodies, and an OWN TV show of her own — felt right at home on “Home and Family,” certainly some things are vastly changed since the last time around.
“Of course, 15 years ago we didn’t have cell phones and the internet. And we do things differently, including raising our families,” she says. “You know, when I was raising mine, even though I was a working mom, things were different. Raising families now is harder, I think. If I had teenagers today, I would not have taken this job because even when I had my own kids, I didn’t take as much work when they were teenagers. To me, the teen years are the most difficult time. I have seven children and four grandkids, and I’m of the mindset that if women had teenagers instead of babies, nobody would have children.”
She laughs, that best-girlfriend-sharing-a-dishy-secret kind of laugh familiar to her legions of fans.
Four grandchildren? That’s hard to imagine for those of us who remember Ferrare marrying entertainment executive Tony Thomopoulous in the mid-1980s, after her 12-year marriage to notorious auto executive John DeLorian crumbled.
“Yes, I have a 16 year old, a 13 year old a 10 year old and a seven year old,” she lets us know. Her three grandchildren who live in Texas will come for a visit in summer, “and I’ll bring them every day to work with me, like I did with my own children. I had the luxury of having them with me. They were raised on the ‘Home and Family’ set, coming every single day.” Her granddaughter who lives nearby is also a frequent visitor to the set — which is in a house complete with a backyard and garden, planted squarely in the middle of the Universal Studios lot in Hollywood.
“I love working here. A lot of production is going on, and a lot of history is here,” she points out. “We have the tour tram going by every five minutes. Sometimes we have the audience from the tram come to see the open of the show or some musical act. I come in in the morning, and my younger daughter works on the set with me. We go for walks to Wisteria Lane, where they did ‘Desperate Housewives,’ or up to the old ‘Psycho’ house or Whoville. Walking around the lot early in the morning is just magical, and so much fun.”
As for the show itself, Ferrare says, “It’s just wonderful. It’s important to us that we have a takeaway every day — something the audience can take away and learn from and apply to their own lives. I love that aspect.” Her forte is cooking, of course, and she definitely has a bent toward decorating, while Steines shines doing DIY projects, tech talk and his specialty, photography. She says that she and Steines are involved in every aspect of the show and treat the house as if it really is their own.
There are fans of the old show who have stuck around all this time, according to Ferrare. “Yes, all these years there was always a ‘Home and Family’ fan base. When it came back on the air, all these women were so happy, a whole group of women.”
Ferrare says she felt “It’s just wonderful. It’s important to us that we have a takeaway every day when the audiences leaves the show — something that they can take away and learn from and apply to their own lives. I love that aspect.” Her forte is cooking, of course, and she definitely has a bent toward decorating, while Steines shines doing DIY projects, tech talk and his specialty, photography.
She’s aware that her longevity is unusual in an industry that often chews up and spits out personalities. “But I think people do it for the wrong reasons — they either want the money or the fame. I do it because I love doing it. It’s coming to work every morning. I just love it. And going home at the end of the day, being with people I know appreciate me and who I love — that’s my reward. I have a great husband who has been very sweet and loving through this whole thing. Patient. I have great kids. I feel very blessed. This is a great time in my life right now, to have my kids grown up and to have all the blessings in my life. This is just frosting on the cake. I’m going to enjoy it as long as it lasts, and I’m not going to ask any questions.”