Get out your jingle bells. David Hasselhoff is coming toward us Saturday (11/10) as a very merry guy who helps clients get through the holidays in style in “The Christmas Consultant,” a Lifetime movie he says he glommed onto because it’s family-oriented, and so is he.
Hasselhoff also tells us he is in negotiations for a show that would bring him back into the reality TV realm, this time on the Travel Channel, and that he plans to tour the U.S. with his one-man “An Evening With David Hasselhoff” stage show next year. That show’s already been a success in Europe and the U.K, where the former “Baywatch” and “Knight Rider” star continues to have an avid following.
Will his “Evening With” show fare as well back home? Followers of the Hasselhoff saga are well aware his life has been fraught with trauma, from past battles with booze to public derision. However, he says, “I always feel that I’m staying mobile and staying positive. It’s like William Shatner, you know? You can’t keep guys like us down. No matter what is said about us, or who’s made fun of us, we’re able to laugh at ourselves and move forward. Life is about waking up and smelling the coffee,” he continues.
“I look at my dad and he’s 87 and he’s still a positive, incredible man. That’s why I took this movie. I’d rather have a perfect kids’ movie, like ‘Home Alone,’ than play Santa’s rough-around-the-edges helper” — another role he says the network dangled before him.
So, does Hasselhoff feel a kinship with Shatner?
“I’ve seen his show before, in concert,” the Hoff replies. “I’ve spoken to him several times. We’re actually managed by the same guy so we have a lot in common. I
really like his work ethic.”
Hasselhoff can identify with working hard on multiple fronts. His home is “always rockin’ with a lot of different projects,” he says.
He already has investors lined up for his “Evening With” tour, he informs. He’s looking forward to communing with audiences across the U.S.A., including the young crowd that knows him from “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie” or his short-lived “Hoff.”
“People are so kind to me and they seem to get it. They know I am resilient. To have a long and happy life, you have to be resilient,” he notes.
Meanwhile, there’s “The Christmas Consultant.”
Hasselhoff says that as soon as he read the script, he told his agent “100 per cent book it.” He explains, “I’ve been a fan of Christmas movies my whole life. As a matter of
Fact, one important piece of information that I’ve never shared with anybody is I’ve been living on the same block where they filmed ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ The backlot, where they built the town — Bedford Falls — is exactly four blocks from my house. That was pointed out to me by one of my associates, my musical director, who is a real movie buff. We’re in Encino, where they built Bedford Falls. That is so amazing to me, because that is a movie that has so touched my heart. Being in a Christmas movie that is family-oriented and very emotional and very fun is a great honor. It’s cool, it’s really cool.”
SPEAKING OF FAMILY FARE: Kristin Chenoweth makes a much — much — better host for the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards than
Carson Kressley, who emceed the canine kudofest last year. Cute as Carson can be, his campy humor was a weird mix with the often heart-tugging, sometimes heart-wrenching
honors — kind of like putting a hot pink frame on a George Earl painting.
Talk about heroics! Among the eight honoree dogs, for example, is Jynx, a German Shepherd who sniffed out a gunman who was lying in wait to ambush a group of sheriffs on his trail, then attacked the gunman, then tried to pull his mortally-wounded handler to safety. The widow accepted on behalf of Jynx, who now lives with her and her baby daughter.
Joey Lawrence, Pauley Perette, Kellie Martin, Denise Richards, Naomi Judd, Mark Steines and Jake T. Austin were among the celebrity attendees at the Beverly
Hilton event, airing tonight (11/8) on The Hallmark Channel. Jewel was in great voice performing for the crowd. And Carson — well, he was a good enough sport to do a little
comedy bit on tape.
Dogs have always been man’s best friend, but it’s only been in the last few decades that we have started behaving as if it works both ways. That’s an encapsulation of an idea that Betty White expressed last night, when she was honored at the Second Annual American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards — and Betty is one who would know.
The 90-year-old national treasure has been an animal lover throughout her lifetime, of course, going back to the days that, according to her, animal advocates were viewed as “a bunch of zealots” and our beastie besties were strictly considered beneath us. Now, though, every year we’re discovering more capabilities of these wonderful creatures, Betty enthused.
At the Hero Dog Awards, many of these remarkable capabilities were celebrated, as eight Hero Dog honorees and their stories were introduced with the help of emcee Kristin Chenoweth (and her own dog, Madeline Kahn Chenoweth), Joey Lawrence, Jewel, Pauley Perette, Kellie Martin, Denise Richards, Naomi Judd, Mark Steines, Jake T. Austin and other celebs.
For instance, there’s Jynx, the Law Enforcement/Arson Dog honoree. He was on duty with his handler, Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly of the Berks County Sheriff’s Department, and other officers in rough terrain — and the German Shepherd alone detected a bad guy lying in wait, ready to ambush the law men with a sub machine gun and a cache of other weapons. Jynx alerted the deputies to the gunman’s presence, attacked the gunman — who nevertheless managed to fire several shots at Pagerly — and then attempted to pull his wounded master to safety. Pagerly died at the hospital, but the other officers on the scene that day feel they owe the hero dog their lives. Jynx now lives with Pagerly’s widow and baby daughter. It was Mrs. Pagerly, only a few weeks pregnant when she lost her 28-year-old husband, who tearfully accepted Jynx’ award — and a heartfelt standing ovation from the crowd.
There are stories of therapy dogs who’ve saved lives and brought troubled humans out of their shells, stories of courageous canines on the battlefield, dogs who’ve given people with disabilities ways to live normal lives. Yes, have the hankies handy if you watch the Hero Dog Awards on The Hallmark Channel November 8. Each honoree is loveable and deserving, unlike other awards shows we could name.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where such galas as the Golden Globes take place, was again the setting for the Hero Dog Awards, with quite a few canines, large and small, there to enjoy the event first-paw. (Whatever must those doggies have thought of being applauded by a ballroom full of people?) The crowd feasted upon sauteed tenderloin of beef and seared citrus olive marinated filet of sea bass — and a dessert of espresso almond tiramisu in a chocolate cup, complete with white chocolate hero dog medallions. For those who watched the first Hero Dogs Awards last year, with Carson Kressley as host — expect a more even program this year.
Hallmark is partnering with Petsmart Charities for “Puppy Love,” which certainly depicts how much adopting a rescue pet can enhance one’s life. Petsmart Charities, as you may well have seen for yourself, has a large ongoing effort nationwide to help rescue dogs and cats find loving homes.
“I know they have guidelines for their channel that are really important to them, but I tend to improvise and all that. But then I got there, and, after one day I was improvising and having a great time.” She tells us that in one sequence, she is helping Eric Mabius’ character by pretending to be his blind date, “and he’s asking me what my hobbies are. So every take I would go through a made-up list of hobbies” — ever more absurd.
The romantic comedy has Mabius as a former high school ugly duckling who hires the pretty and popular girl he had a crush on back in the day — Brooke D’Orsay — to help him shed his lingering wallflower ways. It’s one of a string of projects for Najimy that includes the upcoming Barbra Streisand flick, “The Guilt Trip.”
Najimy and her husband and 15-year-old daughter made the move from L.A. to New York last year. “I love New York so much it’s painful,” she says. “I just adore it.”
She has a return to the stage in her sites. “That’s where I come from with the Kathy and Mo show,” reminds the funny lady, who rose to fame with Mo Gaffney in the off-Broadway sensation that became an HBO hit. “I’m writing a one-woman show right now for the New York stage. It’s called Lift Up Your Skirt. It’s not literally about lifting your skirt — it’s about being honest and putting everything out in the open.”
She’s workshopping the show, getting reactions and then “I rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. It’s a process. You have to do it. I’d love to skip to opening night, but I’m just figuring out what I really want to say and why. I’ve been on Broadway before and I’ve been off-Broadway, and there’s a reason I want to do this one-woman show,” she says. “I don’t know if it will be quite what people expect, but I’m doing this one for me.”
In her May 12 and 13 Hallmark Channel Mothers Day event movie, “Notes from the Heart Healer,” Genie Francis plays an advice writer who, as a young woman, gave up her baby for adoption — and now, as a newlywed, finds herself facing the entirely unexpected prospect of later-in-life parenthood when a baby is left on her doorstep.
Of course, Genie’s own real-life parenting story couldn’t be much more different, and happy. The actress and husband Jonathan Frakes have a son and daughter, ages 17 and 14. Will Jameson or Elizabeth be following in mom’s and dad’s show business footsteps?
“Both of my kids are very talented in many ways,” Genie proudly says. She tells us that just recently, her daughter went off on a service trip to Costa Rica — and climbed a volcano while she was there.
“She’s a very good writer as well as an actress, and she’s very service-minded. I’m impressed, because it’s not my idea. I don’t tell her to do these things. She finds them and does them herself,” Genie says. “I’m trying to keep her open-minded and learning and growing by exposing her to as much education and as many experiences as possible. It would be selling her short to say that acting is all she does well. She does a lot of things well.”
The “Young and the Restless” star says she would love to act with Elizabeth. “We have not done it yet. The most important thing for her would be to get out there and do it
Is your mom a heart healer? Hallmark Channel is looking for inspirational, poignant or funny stories about moms who have healed a heart. Post your tributes to Facebook.com/hallmarkchannel #HeartHealer #HallmarkChannelCountdown
on her own. The obvious comparisons to me will not serve her best interests. She needs to come out as herself, not as Genie’s daughter.”
Then there is Jameson, who might just have a behind-the-cameras career ahead some day. “My son is quite a good director as well as a musician, and he’s now looking into colleges,” she reports. “My family’s very busy.” No kidding.
Genie, who rose to spectacular levels of popularity as Laura Spencer on “General Hospital,” is coming up on her first anniversary with her present show, “The Young and the Restless.” As a member of daytime royalty, who has also played roles on several soaps that no longer exist, how does it feel to be among the last stars standing?
“Really, really lucky,” replies the actress now known as Genevieve Atkinson to “Y&R” fans. “To have landed a job on the Number One soap feels extremely lucky.”
“Y&R” arranged for Genie to have time away to film “Notes From the Heart Healer” — which is a worthy follow-up to her first two, hugely successful “The Note” films.
“They had plans to do the third one for quite awhile,” says the actress. “They had the concept almost immediately after the second one” which debuted in 2009. Will there be a fourth? “I heard at one point that this is the final movie and then I heard that it wasn’t, that there might be more. I don’t know. Perhaps they’re considering how it does in the ratings.” She’d like to do more, she tells us: “I’m always happy to go to work.”
Funny man Jamie Kennedy admits that Valentine’s Day is having a strong impact on him this year. That’s partly because he’s playing a finder of true loves working for Cupid, Inc. in the Feb. 11 Hallmark Channel movie, “Cupid.” It’s also because the whimsical romantic comedy, in which he stars with Joely Fisher, has him thinking about matters of the heart.
“Turning 41 — not 40 — it’s been a turning point for me,” he lets us know. “I’m probably going to want to be at a point where I get to come home and I’ve got a little woman there, and a little mini-me, you know, and maybe a little Pekinese. I’d like to have Friday night pizza night — like we did when I was a kid growing up. That was family night in our house.”
Since we haven’t seen Kennedy linked with anyone since he and former flame Jennifer Love Hewitt parted company, we wonder if he has someone specific in mind.
“If love is a box of chocolates,” he replies, “I’ve got a few pieces I’d like to nibble on.”
Jamie points out that his character in the movie not only helps people find their true loves, but realize “what’s important in life. You know, the script is light, but it also has a good message that resonates. I could relate to Joely’s character myself. She’s a successful person in the entertainment business and she’s put all her eggs in the entertainment basket — and then she realizes she wants to share it with someone, and that the most important thing is human contact. Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day — you want to cuddle.
“The greatest thing about this movie is, I’ve got a billboard right across the street from Jerry’s,” he adds — meaning that the industry types who hang out at Jerry’s Deli get to behold him, giant-sized, resplendent in his Cupid red suit and bow tie.
If the former “Jamie Kennedy Experiment” star and “Ghost Whisperer” cast member has his way, he’ll soon be back on the tube in a regular way. He reveals that he’s just finished a comedy pilot, details of which he’s keeping under wraps.
“I love TV, man. I love movies, too, obviously,” adds Kennedy, who has done plenty of them, including a role in Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds” drama, coming out Feb. 24. “But TV is quicker. You get to do your ideas and it keeps you out there.”
Dean Cain says he’s getting a particular kick out of playing an Army colonel in his currently-shooting “Operation Cupcake” TV movie, because it’s a part that’s in line with a family tradition. “I have a lot of military in my family, and have enormous respect for men and women in uniform, so this is a great thing for me,” says the actor who rose to fame as the Superman of the 1990s.
According to Cain, his grandfather was a commander in the Navy, his uncle a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. “I’ve been out to Iraq with our troops. I’ve visited them all around here. I’ll do anything I can, charity-wise, to support them — the Wounded Warrior project. Those guys, those men and women, are amazing, and I can’t do enough to support them,” he says.
As you no doubt deduced from the title, Cain’s character isn’t going to be seen in the middle of a war zone. “My character has missed a lot of his kid’s life because he’s always been away on deployment. So he’s back for a couple of months, and he’s considering whether to be promoted to a general or to leave the military. It’s really about a guy coming back and trying to get back into a family.” Kristy Swanson also stars as Cain’s wife.
In his real life, Cain is the devoted father of Christopher, 11, who sometimes travels with him to film locales — and in consideration of whom he likes doing family-friendly fare. “My son is perfect, wonderful. He’s so tall and so funny and so sweet. He’s such a good boy,” he extols. “I’m more proud about being his Dad than anything in the world. He just got his report card and it was really good so I’m very happy.”
MEANWHILE: “Operation Cupcake” is among nine original movies that the Hallmark Channel plans to air the first half of 2012. And Cain was among the stars on hand the other night for the elegant sit-down dinner hosted by Crown Media Networks for visiting press at Pasadena’s landmark Tournament House, official home of the Tournament of Roses. Also there were names including Steven Weber, Luke Perry, Candace Cameron Bure, Jane Seymour, Jamie Kennedy, Valerie Harper, Vivica Fox, Joely Fisher and the gorgeous Stacy Keibler, a.k.a. George Clooney’s girlfriend, who is not one of those tall women who wear flats to downplay their height.
The 5’11″ former WWE Diva with the famously long legs wore black pumps with rhinestone-encrusted heels that raised her into the stratosphere, towering over most of the guests. She was an absolute knockout in her very short, white and black scoop-neck dress.