Tag Archives: Home & Family

‘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 Happy to Trade Black Tie for Blue Jeans with ‘Home & Family’

Mark Steines seems to be adapting quickly to his new role as co-host of the Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” lifestyle show debuting this week.  Says the Emmy-winning personality who was a mainstay of “Entertainment Tonight” for 17 years, “’ET’ gifted me with all my suits from the show, but if I’m lucky, I’ll never have to wear one of them again.  I’m much happier in my jeans.  Some days I may not even shave.”
Steines, along with Paige Davis, is presiding over the series that combines the building of a 2,446-square-foot New England Colonial-style house – on the backlot of Universal Studios in California – with talk segments about all things domestic, from parenting to kitchen cabinetry.  It’s a big change for Steines after the red carpet/celebrity whirl, and that’s perfect, he says, because “part of what the show is about is how to embrace change.”
He’s getting to know his sassy cohost.  “I’ve realized I have to be careful about what I reveal about myself, because with Paige, you never know what will happen.”  Viewers can expect to see Davis’ husband, Broadway performer Patrick Page, and Steines’ wife, Miss America 1993 Leanza Cornett, turn up to sing with their mates.  Steines hasn’t forsaken the celebrity beat completely – he says he relishes the idea of doing some longer-form interviews.
“One of my last assignment with ‘ET’ was covering Les Miz, and I sat with Hugh Jackman for 20-25 minutes and we aired maybe a minute of it.  Here, we’ll have the chance to do maybe six, seven-minute pieces with guests.”
Steines relates to the family topics that will be covered on “Home & Family.”  He and his wife have two young sons, and among his current concerns is whether or not to let his 10-year-old have the air rifle he wants.  “The harder I push, the harder he’ll push.”  The host, who has been among People Magazine’s Sexiest Men, admits he’s also into such subjects as whether one is better off weighing every day.  He admits, “I weigh myself every day – sometimes two times a day.  I don’t want to let any weight gain get out of control.  I know women deal with that a lot” – and “Home & Family’s” audience will be primarily women.
FAREWELL:  The passing of Andy Williams last week marked the end of an era, and brought back myriad memories for those of us who wrote about him and interviewed him and admired his clear, soaring voice.  He was a gentleman whose personal style was widely copied — behaviorally and sartorially — in his 1960’s heyday and later years, too.  He once gave all the members of his “Andy Williams Show” crew (including Stacy’s father) custom-fitted Andy Williams-style sweaters for Christmas.  They could have been the envy of any natty dresser on “Mad Men.”
Outside of his voice, the most unforgettable thing about Andy has to have been his devotion to former wife Claudine Longet.  In the happier years of their marriage, he brought her a rose every day.  Later, when she was on trial for shooting her lover, skier Spider Sabich, Andy stayed loyally by her side to show support.  His fame spanned through the Kennedy Camelot years, the golden era of network variety shows, through the establishment of Branson, MO as an entertainment destination and beyond.  Few could match his longevity — or class.  RIP, Andy.
SPREADING HER WINGS:  “Clearly, there’s a theme going on in my life,” says Roma Downey, who of course rose to fame as angel Monica on “Touched by an Angel.”  Not only does she have a Bible mini series on its way to the History Channel next year —  she co-produced with husband Mark Burnett and plays Mary at the crucifixion — she also recently came out with a storybook Bible.  It’s part of her Little Angels kids’ series of DVDs and books.  She reports that they’re “doing great — the Little Angels brand continues to expand.”
With her own career success in addition to her husband’s, “I don’t have to work.  I’m very blessed, very fortunate.  So my passion, my purpose is to be involved with things that uplift and open people’s hearts and raise their consciousness,” she says.  “And the message, ultimately, of the Bible, the message of Jesus, is, ‘Can’t we all see that spark of light in each other which is God — respect each other and love each other and get along together?'”