Tag Archives: Hallmark Channel

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.”

Christmas Season Time of Really Big Cheer at Hallmark Channel

kellie martin christmas ornamentThe Hallmark Channel gang was in a celebratory mood at the holiday soiree and premiere screening of its new “The Christmas Ornament” at L.A.’s The Grove the other night — with good reason. As pointed out by CEO Bill Abbott just prior to the showing, The Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” programming earned the channel the No. 1 spot in cable for the past two weekends running.

Those who believe it’s impossible to attract an audience without profanity, violence or nudity, take note. “Christmas Ornament” stars Kellie Martin and Cameron Mathison were among the stars present for the pre-screening party at nearby La Piazza. (Kellie’s support retinue included her husband, attorney Keith Christian, their seven-year-old daughter Maggie, her parents and in-laws.) Also there was Hallmark Channel fave Candace Cameron Bure, who has her own movie premiering on the network Nov. 30, “Let It Snow” — in which she plays a hard-charging hotel executive charged with transforming a ski lodge into a modern winter hotspot, and stripping away its quaint Christmas traditions. Other Hallmark Channel names were on hand for the fun as well, including Bruce Boxleitner, Barbara Niven and Dylan Neal of “Cedar Cove.”

A tale about a grieving widow who thinks she’s going to skip celebrating Christmas until Hallmark Channel-style things begin to happen, “The Christmas Ornament” is just the thing for those who prefer more sugar than spice in their holiday fare.

It’s the latest in a string of Hallmark Channel movie for Martin, the former “Life Goes On,” “Christy” and “ER” actress. According to her, “They’ve been so great to work with for so long. I’ve worked with them since 2004. That’s when — I think that’s when I did the first ‘Mystery Woman,’ or maybe 2003.”

Martin took time away from her career from Maggie’s birth to the start of school. “I got her ready and into kindergarten totally solid, no changes with mom. Mom was not working.” Now, the former child star and Yale grad says she weighs prospective assignments as they come. “I’m having a lot of fun with Hallmark.”

As for whether Maggie might follow in Mom’s footsteps, Martin makes it clear she will have to wait: “I told her she can act after she goes to college. If she still wants to do it when she’s old enough to take herself on auditions, she can do it.” Meanwhile, she’d like Maggie to focus on being a kid.

Joey Lawrence Talks Sexual Tension, Heroic Dogs, and Chips off the Ol’ Block

JOEY LAWRENCE, MELISSA JOAN HARTJoey Lawrence admits he had concerns about the turn of events on his popular “Melissa & Joey” ABC Family sitcom last season – when his and Melissa Joan Hart’s characters went from their sexually charged employer-employee relationship to becoming lovers.  However, he tells us, two episodes into shooting of Season 4, he’s happy about their having taken the risk.

“The show changes completely.  Joe no longer works for Mel anymore, so he’s going to move out into his own place and they’re going to start dating and see how it goes.  Once they finally got together, it changed everything.  They decided to go for it – to give it a shot as a couple.”

He adds, “I think that we have a really good writing team and there was a lot of thought creatively about how we’re going to deal with this and keep the show fresh.  Certainly Mel and Joe getting together does not mean it’s always going to be smooth sailing.  It’s a very interesting way to keep the sparks flying.”

Joey, who will be seen hosting the Hallmark Channel’s Third Annual Hero Dog Awards Oct. 30, reports that when the current 40-episode order of “Melissa and Joey” is finished, the sitcom will have passed the 100 episode mark – a rare feat in today’s television environment.  He acknowledges that going in, he had no idea the series would turn into a long-running success. 

“We developed a core audience, and I think the end of last year our numbers were up 61 per cent.  We found a great little niche and we have a good home.  A lot of people watch live, and then we have an audience that watches online when they choose all around the world.  Really, if you like the multi-camera comedy – and multi-camera romantic comedy, our show is one of the few actually on TV.”

His former “Blossom” sister, Mayim Bialik, is on another one of those few sitcoms, “The Big Bang Theory,” and Joey says, “I’ve seen her from time to time at different events.  We don’t talk a lot but it’s good to see that Mayim and I are still plugging away.”

               Joey was surrounded by stars including Betty White, Pauley Perrette, Ryan O’Neal and Jennifer Coolidge at the American Humane Association’s “Hero Dog Awards” event. 

“It was fun, man, it was fun,” he declares.  “Every year they’ve progressed — they’ve wanted my involvement a little more.  The first year I was a presenter.  Last year I was also working with Miss White.  This year they said, ‘Do you want to host it?’ and I said, ‘Sure, why not?’  I mean, I love dogs and this is a cool show for dog lovers.  Obviously the American Humane Association is doing such outstanding work, and has been for 100 years, you know?  So I said, ‘I’d love it.’  So they let me do my thing, spice things up a little bit, you know, and actually it turned out to be a special evening. 

“If you’re a dog lover, you understand what wonderful creatures these are.  The dogs on the show are amazing.  We have one of the five dogs in the country who can sniff out early signs of cancer.  Their noses are such an incredible tool — they smell in color, as they say.  It’s an amazing thing to see these animals who work like this every day.”

He says it was no problem for him to take on “Hero Dogs” amidst “Melissa & Joey” production.  “They allowed me to be myself up there.  We shot it on Saturday night so we were able to do it around my work, so everything worked out fine.”

Of course, Joey is a dog lover himself – as are his and wife Chandie’s seven and three-year-old daughters.  “We have an Australian Shepherd-black Lab mix named Tiffany, and we have a Golden Retriever named Leo,” he reports.

As for whether either of his girls are also showing signs of sharing his love of performing, Joey replies, “They have.  My seven-year-old is already starting to ask questions about it.  She’d like to be in a commercial, she tells me all the time.”

What does he say?

“Well, my mom allowed me to follow my dream.  It would be really wrong of me to prevent my daughter from doing it.  I tell her, ‘We’ll think it over and maybe in a couple of years, when you’re nine and can do something over the summer, well give it a shot.  You know it’s not just going out and doing a commercial, it’s going out it’s having to audition, to show you know what you’re doing.’  She said, ‘Oh yeah. I have to go try out for it.’

According to him, his elder daughter is “really, really, really extroverted and she loves to sing and stuff.  But I come from a different perspective and a different time.  It’s such a different world today than when I was growing up.  Then, it was all about work.  Now, it’s more about, ‘How do I become famous?’  I want to teach her old school: it’s going to be about the work.”  He told her, “It’s going to take a lot of work, but if it’s something you really want to try, maybe we’ll see what pops.  It could be cool.”