One of television’s favorite duos, Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare, return for a second season of “Home & Family” on The Hallmark Channel. The second season begins on Monday, September 30th. “Home & Family” is that perfect mix of celebrity interviews, do-it-yourself home instructions and family fun that has allowed the show to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Lifestyle Program.”
Mark is probably best known for his more than 17 years on “Entertainment Tonight.” I was able to speak with Mark about the new show, his career in the entertainment business, and fatherhood.
Art Eddy: The second season of The Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” begins back up on September 30th. For those who have not seen the show can you describe a bit about your show?
Mark Steines: It is all over the map in regards to what you are going to get when you drop by. We are a two hour live show from a real house that was built specifically for the show. We are located at the Universal Studios back lot. We are really sort of the TV version of Pinterest if you will. That sort of encapsulates it.
We do everything from pet care to DYI projects to cooking. We live in such a complicated world these days from electronics and technology. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. So we are there as a sort of a know it all show. We have a lot of experts who contribute to our show. People in the business who know the latest web technology to help your kids understand the responsibilities of finances. It is a really fun show to be a part of. For me it is a life tutorial. When I go to work every day I get a chance to hang out with these people who deal with all sorts of these issues that make life a little bit easier.
AE: What are some of the upcoming guests that we can expect to see on the show?
MS: We are certainly going to have back the people that were big hits last year. One of the issues that we face today and I just saw the statistic about it. We will live five to seven years longer than our kids because of the obesity problem in this country.
We have a woman who comes on, Sophie Uliano, who is so well versed in what is organic and what is not. This blew me away. I always wondered why when you go to the store and you buy the fruit that they have that little sticker on them. I always have to peel them off my apple. I am like why do you do this? She read the barcode for us and showed us what the numbers mean that were on the bottom. She said the sticker is basically letting you know when you get something organic.
So we are going to have people back like Sophie and other experts. I haven’t seen all the guests because we are going to be launching soon, but I am sure that they are going to be newsmakers and what have you. We have found in our show that people who tune in tend to spend the full two hours on the show, which is unheard of. I think it is because of the format of the show and the variety that is there. You feel like you are getting more than just a sample of things.
AE: You are known for your great work with about 17 years on “Entertainment Tonight.” What are some ways that “Home & Family” is similar to your job on “Entertainment Tonight?”
MS: My workflows for the shows have changed, but in essence you are still doing television. If you are doing an interview with a Celine Dion or JLo or whomever, you still have to be real. You still have to connect with them. You want to find out what is the message in this particular story.
Now for me that has changed a little bit. It used to be who are you wearing to now what is the best thing that you can put in your garden. Regardless you still do your research. I still look at what I do as a journalist. I still am trying to bring good television. I do enjoy the aspect of live television. We are live to tape. We tape a day ahead of time, but we still treat it as a live show. So any mistakes, anything that happens stays and lives on that show. That to me is refreshing. I did “ET” for almost two decades. So it really kind of changed things up.
AE: Over your many years in the entertainment industry what interviews have stood out the most in your career for you?
MS: Oh gosh. I have had that question a couple of times. My favorites are always when I was working with the icons. Whether it is a Cher or a Madonna. I just had a chance to interview Cher right after her performance on “The Voice.” We did the interview over the internet on Live Stream, which I thought was an interesting choice for her. Instead of going to the top entertainment news shows she decided to do it over the internet, which speaks volumes for where the internet it going.
It is really the moment and the person that comes together. “Time Magazine” has their 75 anniversary in New York. I was standing on stage waiting to see if I could get some sort of reaction from Muhammad Ali. Michael Jordan walked up and I stood there as these two greats met for the first time. It was just so surreal to be standing there. It felt like the world was spinning around all of us. I am just going are you kidding me right now. Jordan is meeting Ali for the first time. The hand shake and the genuine authenticity of that moment of seeing someone like Jordan just be in awe of Ali I was just humbled by that. It is stuff like that that I will look back on in my career and cherish those opportunities.
AE: You are also working for a great benefit called “Artworks for the Cure” as the master of ceremonies. Can you tell me a bit of this benefit and how you got involved in it?
MS: I was just talking today with a publicist about this. As I move forward in my career a lot of people like you said know me from my career at “ET,” but they don’t know this other side of me. One of the aspects that I do is photography. I loved it and been involved with it ever since high school. I haven’t really put a lot of my stuff out there. This by no means is me putting up my artwork, but I do support the art in any way possible.
The arts are very important in our kids’ education. This particular organization, “Artworks for the Cure,” it is at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. It is a three day event, but there is one night that I will be emceeing. Colbie Caillat will be performing. It is a fundraiser that is put forth to raise money cancer, AIDS, and leukemia research. They have been doing so since 1975.
They are going to be featuring street art. I will have a couple pieces of mine hanging up there that I am donating to help with this organization. I think when anyone says that we are going to try and make a difference by using the things we love to do and that is sort of my motto.
AE: Switching to fatherhood. You have two sons. If people follow you on Twitter they can see the fun activities you do with your sons. What are some of you and your son’s interests and hobbies? I see one of your sons like to cook.
MS: My oldest one loves to cook. That is great, but I am trying to work on a little bit healthier cooking. I made that very big step of having the dishes go into the dishwasher and not just next to the sink. As your kids get older it is these tiny victories that you get to celebrate.
This morning the cereal bowl actually went into the dishwasher. I was so elated. I felt like I just won the Ironman competition. It is amazing. I sound like my parents. I said I swear I will never grow up to be like you, mom and dad. Now I am saying the same things about how many times do I have to repeat myself? Why don’t you understand? (Laughs) It is ridiculous. It is a cruel world.
AE: What are some of the values that you want to instill in your sons?
MS: I think the world revolves around please and thank you and opening doors. I think kindness and respect gets you a long way. Maybe it is just the city that I live in. I really think that is what people expect and want. I have two very kind boys, who are very thoughtful of others. I think that is just part of what removes us from being robots.
To be socially responsible. To look out for your neighbors. We grow up in a community that maybe doesn’t have a lot of heart to it. I grew up in the Midwest. There was this hometown feel to it. In Los Angeles it is so broken up. It is hard to get a core feeling. So I really strive to remind them that we are all connected here. They got each other. That is important.
I never let them fight it out. A lot of other people will let their boys fight it out, but I never let that happen. I try let them use the power of their words to settle their issues. Those are some of the core values that I think are important and sometimes missed.
AE: I read that you are into remodeling and restoring items. What are you currently working on right now and do your sons help out with your projects?
MS: It is funny you say that. It isn’t a remodel. My kids are still at the point where they are sharing a room, which I think is important to do. There room was not the room I envisioned them to have. They had two separate beds. They have grown out of their nursery beds. So this issue really has never been approached.
So I built them a bed with two lofts above it. I took my oldest to our place in Ojai. I have a lot of my stuff up there. It is more of a workshop area. We worked for about six days on it. It was great. Kids love to climb up on things and be up high. It is almost like a treehouse or fort feeling that all kids at their age love. My boys are 9 and 11 years old. I got that for a couple for years and then they are going to want their own rooms. They are going to want the sign keep out and the door will be shut all the time. I will be going open the door, but we worked on that. I am also building a study center for these guys. Education is really important in my home. That is just one more project and then I am done. Then I am finished for a while. (Laughs)