Tag Archives: The Hallmark Channel

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.”

Newhart Finds the Old New Again With ‘The Bob Newhart Show’

 The Hallmark Channel is running a 12-hour “The Bob Newhart Show” marathon this Sunday (5/27) — in honor of the classic sitcom’s 40th anniversary — and among those watching at least some of the episodes will be Newhart himself.

“I don’t go out of my way to watch them, but if they’re on I’ll watch them,” says the comedy icon and master of deadpan delivery.  “The weird thing about them is, I don’t remember doing them.  I see myself, and I’m in the set, obviously, and I’m watching like a regular viewer, thinking, ‘I wonder how this turns out?’

“I’m so glad Hallmark is doing it, because it’s such a classy channel, and they’re doing it right,” he adds.

Newhart tells us that he and his wife of 49 years, Ginnie, still stay in touch with former cast mate Bill Daily, who lives in New Mexico, and they socialize with Peter Bonerz, Marcia Wallace, and Jack Riley, all of whom live locally.  He fondly recalls the times they spent with the late Suzanne Pleshette and Tom Poston — close friends who played his series wife and obnoxious college buddy, respectively.  Their characters “couldn’t stand each other.  And then of course, in real life, they wound up getting married.”  He laughs.  “The final years of their lives, they were so much in love, and we used to see them and, oh, they were so happy!  It was just great that they found each other.”

Newhart keeps a fairly full schedule at 82.  He does standup dates around the country — “about 20 a year.  I’ll always do that, as long as the good Lord gives me the stamina to do it.  I can’t imagine not doing that.”  And other projects keep coming along for the legend who has been cited as an influence by funny people including Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres, Lewis Black, Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno.

Recently, there’s been talk of a sequel to last year’s hit black comedy “Horrible Bosses” in which Newhart briefly appears.

“Apparently they tested it, and people weren’t happy with the ending, so they came up with this different ending involving me.  I had a scene with Jason Bateman.  We go back to ‘George and Leo,'” Newhart recounts, referring to the short-lived CBS sitcom in which he and Bateman and Judd Hirsch starred 15 years ago.  “The first day I saw Jason on the ‘Horrible Bosses’ set — it was a one-day shoot, for the ending — I said, ‘I thought we had pretty much killed off your career with George and Leo,’ you know?  But apparently you survived it.’   He went on to ‘Arrested Development’ and all kinds of wonderful things.”

If a “Horrible” sequel did happen, Newhart muses, “I would imagine they would pick it up with Jason and myself and take it from there.”

Meanwhile, this weekend, “I’m going to look forward to watching the Hallmark Channel marathon and seeing some of the shows I don’t even remember.”