Growing up in Wisconsin, I had one clear realization each January: I'd really rather be in Pasadena. Apparently, others had that same feeling. Now -- on Jan. 2, not Jan. 1 -- comes the annual parade, with Mark Steines as one of thehosts. Here's te story I sent to papers:
By Mike Hughes
Long ago – not the
previous century, but the one before that – a Pasadena man decided
it was time for his home town to show off.
“In New York,
people are buried in the snow,” Charles Holder reportedly said.
“Here, our flowers are blooming .... Let's hold a festival to tell
the world about our paradise.
The first rose
parade debuted on Jan. 1, 1890; later, via TV, it would bring envy to
the shivering North.
In Chicago, Bob
Newhart used to watch it and wish he lived in California; in Iowa,
Mark Steines had the same reaction. “It was cold and windy” at
home, he recalled, and he stared at those Pasadena scenes. “It
might have been something from the 4th of July.”
Both men, like many
Northerners, eventually moved West. In 1991, Newhart became the
parade's grand marshal; this year, Steines becomes co-host of the
Hallmark Channel coverage,
“There's so much
tradition involved,” Steines said. “And such a neighborly
He'll host with
Leeza Gibbons, the most recent “Celebrity Apprentice” winner ...
which continues his life of interesting women. Steines has been
married to a former Miss America and a doggy-book author; he's hosted
Hallmark's daytime show with three women. He's not in Iowa any more.
Back in Dubuque,
Steines was an All-State linebacker, going to Northern Iowa on a
football scholarship. He became a TV journalist who drew attention at
the 1988 Republican convention, when some people thought he was Tom
Cruise. That led to a funny news report, new jobs and occasional bits
on ESPN and “Entertainment Tonight.”
Steines became the
“ET” co-host in 2004, then moved on in 2012 to Hallmark's
ambitious, 10-hour-a-week “Home and Family.” Paige Davis was his
co-host for six weeks; “from the get-go, she was not happy there.”
For three-plus years, Cristina Ferrare – former actress, ex-wife of
controversial auto boss John DeLorean, now married to former ABC
chief Tony Thomopolous – was there. “Cristina is such an amazing
chef,” Steines said. Now Debbie Matenopoulos, formerly of “The
women are in his personal life. In 2013, he and Leanza Cornett (who
was Miss America 1993) ended their 17-year marriage. Two years later,
he was charmed by a “Home and Family” appearance by author Julie
Freyermuth and her tiny rescue dog Norbert.
Freyermuth married last August, with a blended home that includes the
3-pound Norbert and Steines' sometimes-100-pound golden retriever
Fred. “They're both very attentive when we're in the kitchen,” he
He's 15 years older
than his wife, but says it's a logical match. “She's an old soul;
she likes '60s music. We both like to get to bed early, we both get
He has to do that.
By 8 a.m. Monday, Pasadena time, he'll be busy describing the Rose
Parade and making people in Iowa and Chicago terribly jealous.
-- Rose Parade, 11
a.m. to 1 p.m. ET Monday, Jan. 2, on ABC, NBC, HGTV, Hallmark and
-- Hallmark has a
preview at 10 a.m. and repeats the parade at 1 p.m. The parade is
also the backdrop for “A Rose For Christmas,” at 8 p.m. Sunday,
-- Mark Steines
co-hosts the Hallmark coverage with Leeza Gibbons and appears briefly
in “A Rose For Christmas.” His “Home & Family” is at 10
a.m. weekdays (except Jan. 2), repeating at noon.