Hallmark’s daytime Emmy-nominated series, Home & Family is always entertaining viewers with its mix of cooking segments, celebrity interviews, DIY projects, musical performances and more. The series is the only lifestyle series on cable to produce a new show every weekday. Now the talk show can add another accomplishment to it’s list: celebrating its 500th episode. I asked Cristina Ferrare and Mark Steines about memorable moments from their first five hundred episodes and about their dynamic chemistry.
How does it feel to be about to shoot your 500th episode?
Cristina: It’s been 500 episodes of just pure fun! I was telling a friend yesterday, that I go home every day with a stomach ache from laughing. It’s been a pure joy. I can’t believe it’s been 500 recipes — oops, you can tell where my head is! — I can’t believe it’s been 500 episodes already!
Do you have a favorite or most memorable guest?
Mark: I’ve had many, but recently it would be Nick Vujicic. Nick was born without arms or legs. I still don’t know how he did it, but within about 60 seconds of meeting him I completely forgot about his difference. He is an amazing human being and reminded all of us that day how blessed we were. I’ve never experience that kind of love from someone. I can’t speak for others, but I know I’m a better person for knowing him!
Cristina: We recently had on the lead singer from Kiss, and I loved him so much. Paul Stanley brought his big tall shoes with him, those rock star shoes. Oh, those rock stars, I was a huge Kiss fan, and to see him as “normal,” and talk about his children, his family, it’s like “Wow, this is a whole other persona!” He was great, it was fun and we cooked in the kitchen. I have to say, he was one of my very favorites. Who would think that Paul Stanley from Kiss would be sitting there making an Italian meal?
Do you have a dream guest that you’d love to have on the show?
Cristina: Yes, there are two guys on the Universal Lot that I stalk. They shoot The Voice here, right down the street from us, and I’d give my right arm — but not really — to interview Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Oh gosh, I love them. They would be my dream guests. I have major crushes. Could you imagine if they came here and they sang? Or I could just sit them on the couch and we can just look at them? I’m not asking for much, I’ll cook them something. I’ll make them drinks and it’ll be fine.
You both get to participate in a wide variety of segments; do you have a favorite?
Cristina: Our show is a blend, we like to call it one-stop-shopping, it’s a blend of everything where you can go, during that block of 2 hours, da a DIY project, sit down and have a serious conversation about health issues or women’s issues, it’s just a wonderful cornucopia of all kinds of things that happens, and that’s what happens every single day, and we encompass all of it in 2 hours.
Mark: I love teaching our viewers about photography. Its been a passion of mine as long as I can remember. I love teaching and get very excited and fulfilled when our fans actually go out and try to use the things I’ve taught them. The feedback on our social media have been extra rewarding. I did a segment on how to make good images of fireworks and our viewers actually went out, tried it and came back with such good photos. I was so pleased with that. I think it falls in line with what our show is all about….showing and teaching people how to get more out of life….wether its in the kitchen, garden, raising their families, making projects with their kids, or in this case making better images and capturing the precious moments of their lives to keep forever.
Cristina: I love everything, but I have to be honest, my favorites are the cooking segments, especially when we have master chefs come on because I learn from them. But I also like the way it makes our guests feel. They sit down at the kitchen table with us, and we’re sitting and chatting, it feels like a real home. Well it is a real house. Our set is a real house here at Universal. It was built as a real home, a functioning home, so when you’re there, and our guests come in, they feel like they’re a part of a real life experience, rather than being on set. So when they sit down at the counter and we’re just chatting, and we’re talking and we’re eating and I’m cooking, that’s my favorite.
Mark, What is something about Cristina that viewers may not know?
Mark: Cristina ACTUALLY believes we live in the house we shoot the show in everyday! If somebody has the sniffles she makes the a tea. If a guest isn’t comfortable she will get them a blanket. She has brought many, many personal items from home to place around the set and every Monday she comes in early to arrange all the flowers for the week. She even has a flower cart with her name on it. Sometimes I wonder if she realizes we are making a TV show! She is that authentic!
Cristina, what do you love about Mark?
Cristina: I just love Mark, I just think he is one of the classiest, most loving people I’ve ever met. He always, always has my back. We are very, very close, our families are very close, we have a very deep and meaningful friendship. It’s lovely working with him because he knows my rhythm and I know his. He’s supportive, he’s kind, he’s funny, he’s always there for me, no matter what and I appreciate it. The chemistry between us is palpable and you can tell that we genuinely care and like each other. And it makes coming to work everyday such a pleasure. There is no drama and I have to say that it trickles down to the rest of our family members on the show as well. We always look at our show as not “Cristina and Mark” and “the rest of the family,” it’s “Cristina and Mark & our family.”
We’re a true family here. Everybody here genuinely likes one another. From the cast to the crew to the executive offices. It’s an experience that I’ve never had in all of the years that I’ve been working and all of the experiences I’ve had doing this. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s just a pure joy. I wake up happy, I leave happy and I go to bed dead-tired, but I sleep well. I’m very, very grateful that in this stage of my life, this just popped up and I’ve got this gorgeous man next to me and at night I have a gorgeous man at home. Mark is my TV husband and I get to go home to my real husband. I’m a lucky girl.
Home & Family > Hallmark Channel > Weekdays 10am ET/ 9am CT
Special 500th episode airs Dec. 26
images © 2014 Crown Media United States, LLC Alexx Henry Studios, LLC / Jeremy Lee