Tuesday, May 21 proved to be a big night for Hallmark Channel (and its parent company Crown Media Family Networks) as the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation honored the network’s daily talk show Home & Family at their annual Gracie Gala, held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. President and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks Bill Abbott and Executive Vice President of Programming and Network Publicity Michelle Vicary, along with many of Home & Family’s family members (pictured above and below) were on hand to accept the award for Best Talk Show: Entertainment. “It was such an honor to be in a room full of powerful women, and men, all there to celebrate women making amazing entertainment ranging from television to radio, documentaries and movies,” beamed H&F pet expert Larissa Wohl in an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. “It was great that everyone, from Bill and Michelle to our executive producers, could show up in full force. I believe it only took all of the family members 24 hours to RSVP -- that's how important it was to all of us to be a part of something so positive.”
The Gracie Gala is the largest annual fundraiser supporting the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF), which creates educational programs and provides scholarships that benefit the public and the media industry. The Awards recognize individual achievements and outstanding programming by, for and about women. “I didn't know a lot about the Gracies beforehand and what they stood for,” explained Wohl. “It was very empowering to be in [that] room and hear all of the women who graced the stage really speak from the heart about the organization, recognize the hard work women are doing, and celebrate the equality that women in media have.
“Our hosts Cameron Mathison and Debbie Matenopoulos delivered a moving speech about how 80% of the people working on our show are women and how important it was to be recognized for that,” she continued. “I felt lucky to be enlightened about some of the amazing podcasts and hear the stories of people who really shine a light on many global female-oriented issues [such as] women’s rights, including their rights to their bodies. It inspired me to learn even more about it.”
Currently in its seventh season,Home & Family continues to deliver year-round original daily programming. (The cast is pictured above.) Among its many accomplishments, the show helped launch Hallmark Channel’s lauded Adoption Ever After pet rescue initiative. “Since we started the initiative, our adoption numbers have surpassed 850,” revealed Wohl. “Hallmark, in general, with all of its efforts including the Kittenand Cat Bowls, American Rescue Dogs and The Hero Dog Awards (to name a few) has managed to place well over 33,000 pets. That is so exciting.”
Wohl continues her ambassadorship for Home & Family and Adoption Ever After, participating in the network's 2019 June Weddings Programming Event Preview Special, which will be telecast on Saturday. Hosted by Josie Bissett and Jack Wagner (pictured below with Wohl at center), and featuring Hallmark Channel’s pet adoption ambassador Happy the Dog, the special gives Hallmarkies sneak peeks at the latest installment in the Wedding March movie franchise, My Boyfriend’s Back: Wedding March 5; Wedding at Graceland (starring Kellie Pickler, Wes Brown and Priscilla Presley); Love, Take Two (with Heather Hemmens and Cornelius Smith Jr); The Last Bridesmaid (with Rachel Boston and Paul Campbell), and In the Key of Love (starring Laura Osnes and Scott Michael Foster).
“Josie and Jack were so funny,” recalled Wohl of filming the special. “I've done a few of these now and often the actors know all about the network, but not necessarily our efforts and what we do every day on the show with pet adoption. When they find out they melt! Josie hung out in her trailer with the puppies for the whole time before shooting started and was in heaven.
“Jack really wanted to hold the little male dog we had,” she added. “He was probably the most excitable of all of them, so it was funny to watch Jack trying to wrangle him, but he absolutely loved it. I love seeing the stars I grew up watching melt into a puddle of love when the puppies are in their arms.
“What's so fun about working for this network is, every season you feel fully engrossed in some kind of celebration,” Wohl offered in closing. “I find the June Weddingsevent really gives you a fresh feeling. It's the promise of summer being around the corner, weddings are being planned, and love is in the air. It's so magical to watch these specials come together -- [it’s almost] like walking into a Hallmark movie! I did a little acting a while back and could easily jump back into it -- trust me, I would love to do a Hallmark movie with pets.
The 2019 June Weddings Preview Special is telecast Saturday, May 25 at 11 p.m., and Home & Family can be seen weekdays 10 a.m., both on Hallmark Channel.
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