Tag Archives: Cristina Ferrare

‘Dynasty’ Reunion a Blast From the Past for Cristina Ferrare

ferrerePower suits. Shoulder pads. Catfights. Nobody did the ’80s prime-time soap better than the series that put the nasty in “Dynasty.” Now the Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” is bringing together members of the Carrington clan with the latest in their vintage TV reunion specials, coming up Monday, Jan. 26.

The recent “Knots Landing” reunion show “went over so well, three days after it aired, the producers told me next we were going to do ‘Dynasty,'” says “Home & Family” co-host Cristina Ferrare.

Pamela Sue Martin, John James, Al Corley and Gordon Thomson are among the names you can expect to see. And you never know who might Skype in — as Alec Baldwin did for the “Knots Landing” show.

It’s a blast from the past to Cristina — and not just because she herself used to wear fabulous “Dynasty”-worthy Nolan Miller gowns. Recall that her husband, Tony Thomopoulos, was the head of ABC back when “Dynasty” ruled the airwaves. Tony and his Max Factor supermodel cum TV hostess bride, Cristina, were one of Hollywood’s dazzling power couples. She’d meet the casts of his shows at various industry events, “do the wife thing, say ‘Hello’ and be gracious,” she recalls. Also, having been co-host of the popular “AM Los Angeles” for four years, Cristina met pretty much every show business luminary out to tout their latest projects.

For the Cleveland born-and-raised Cristina, it was a dream come true. “I was like a little girl caught up in this amazing fantasy — sitting with people like Jimmy Stewart and Lucille Ball.”

She notes, “The whole town was so different then.”

Indeed, things were quite different in the four-network universe, when everyone was watching the same shows, before the fragmentation of TV into dozens of outlets and hundreds of viewing choices.  “Home & Family” remains a bastion of show business of, well, a homier and more family style than much of television now.

“That’s what makes us so unique — no make believe ‘reality,’ no shock value. We have real life problems and humor,” says Ferrare, who is in her third season of the show co-hosted by Mark Steines. “We cook and play games. We shoot the show in a real house.”

Their house is in the middle of the Universal Studios Hollywood lot, but hey, it’s still real — which is a bit like Cristina herself. Much as she is part of the show business milieu, she remains relatable to her admiring audience, coming off as down-to-earth, charming and warm — the neighbor everyone would like to have.

She and Tony have now been together 31 years. The former network honcho currently has projects in the works at Sony Television and with the BBC. “He loves producing,” she says.

What’s their secret to a long-lasting marriage in (of all places) Hollywood?

“A sense of humor,” she answers. “We argue — but we argue laughing. We are each other’s best friend.

“And our family — our kids are everything to us. We have seven children — two from my first marriage, three from his, and our two together. Everyone gets along with everyone. It’s always family, family, family.”

And food, naturally, considering Cristina’s culinary gifts. “Home & Family” viewers have seen daughters Arianna and Alex whipping up delectable items along with their mother. Alex has been pursuing cooking and comedy, in fact, and Cristina says she may just have her own show one of these days. “She’s really funny.”

Mark Steines Loves Taking ‘Home and Family’ Prime Time

HF-Thanksgiving-spec-320x300_41107Mark Steines of “Home and Family” admits that this week’s first prime time special edition of the show he cohosts with Cristina Ferrare was “a daunting task” to pull off — but more than worth it.  “We’re happy about the vote of confidence this prime time outing represents,” he says, especially since he has been told that the Hallmark higher-ups expect some 80 million viewers to sample at least some of their 1200 hours of Countdown to Christmas programming.

The “Home and Family” holiday special has everything from such Hallmark Channel movie faves as Nicolette Sheridan, Naomi Judd, Alan Thicke and Candace Cameron Bure guesting, to a high school choir, a turkey cooking, and even an ice skating rink at the show’s highly-decorated house on the Universal Studios lot in Hollywood.  “It’s like the Griswold’s house, every inch of it is lit,” he says.

Steines is proud of the show that is making it in the hotly-contested daytime world, where many a star has been vanquished by season two.  The veteran of 17 years of “Entertainment Tonight” now finds that doing “Home and Family” is changing him.

“I’ve completely revamped decisions in life about what food I eat, raising kids, what to feed kids  — all that stuff based on what we’ve had on our show.  I never thought a guy from Dubuque, Iowa would be juicing, but I do my own juicing.”  Best of all, his 10 and 11-year-old sons are “starting to take care of themselves, starting to work out and watch what they eat, which is great.”

ALSO:  Candace Cameron Bure, who plays the daughter of Alan Thicke on the Nov. 30-debuting “Let It Snow” Hallmark Channel Movie, tells us that “everyone has different thoughts” when it comes to her former cast mates talking about the idea of a “Full House” reunion.  In case you weren’t aware, a recent posting had it that there was a series in the works that would have the daughters from that 90’s sitcom now grown up and living together.  It provoked a storm of excitement on the internet.  But it was a joke.  Bure says she and her former cast mates have talked about the phenomenon, and they’re amazed by the response, but she doesn’t expect such an idea to ever bear fruit.

CandaceCameronBureAs for herself, right now she’s focused on “Let it Snow,” in which she plays a hard-charging executive determined to modernize an old fashioned holiday ski lodge.

Hallmark did not come to her about the project, she says.  “I actually asked them.  I was talking to Hallmark and I love being part of the Hallmark family, and I said, ‘okay, for my next movie, I would really like to do a Christmas movie,’ because those are my favorite.  I’m the target demographic, because I sit and watch them all.  Then they sent me this script and it was perfect.”

Cristina Ferrare, Back in the Daytime Spotlight and Loving it

FerrarreCristina Ferrare admits she never expected to wind up on the “Home and Family Show” — 15 years after winding up “The Home and Family Show.”

“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.”