What happened at Hallmark’s Home & Family talk show? Last year, the network shockingly fired co-host Mark Steines — who had been with the program since its 2012 revival — after he accused executive producer Woody Fraser of sexual harassment.
But Mark didn’t go quietly. Here’s what went down following the 55-year-old’s termination and whether it's affected the lifestyle series’ future.
Was Home & Family canceled?
Despite the controversy surrounding Mark’s exit, Home & Family has persevered. On July 26, Hallmark announced that the daytime show will return for an eighth season.
"Home & Family continues to grow its audience and has delivered double-digit increases in the demo and households all season long, making the decision to renew it easy for us," Michelle Vicary, an executive vice president at Crown Media Family Networks, said in a press release.
"We are proud to be the only non-news or sports cable network to offer our viewers original programming during the daytime that not only entertains but enhances their lives as well," she added.
Debbie Matenopoulos, who has been a co-host on the series since 2016, celebrated the renewal with an Instagram post. "I have never felt so fortunate and proud to work for a network who values all of the right and important things in life," she wrote. "It feels amazing to spread love and goodness for a living."
The blonde beauty will once again be joined by former soap star Cameron Mathison, who replaced Mark at the beginning of Season 7.
What happened to Mark Steines during his time at the Home & Family show?
In September, the former ET anchor filed a lawsuit against Crown Media, Hallmark’s parent company, alleging retaliation and wrongful termination. Mark claimed he was let go after speaking out against Home & Family’s creator, Woody Fraser.
According to the complaint, the father of three "regularly warned" executives about the 84-year-old’s inappropriate behavior toward female employees, which he said created a "vulgar, demeaning, and hostile work environment."
In giving examples, Mark alleged that Woody made "sexually lewd comments about attractive female guests while speaking to Mr. Steines through his earpiece during the filming of the show." He also said that the TV director would "forcibly" hug and massage women on set.
When two female producers filed sexual harassment claims against Woody, Mark met with their attorneys to share information that backed up their statements. Though the EP was removed by Crown Media shortly after, Mark alleged that his salary was "substantially reduced" following his involvement in the claims.
He added that his eventual firing took place "in an utterly unprofessional manner intended to personally humiliate [him] while maximizing damage to his professional reputation."
Despite Crown Media’s attempt to have Mark’s lawsuit thrown out, a judge ruled in December that the case would move forward. "These factual allegations plausibly allege a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing," the motion states.
In recent months, Mark has served as a fill-in on FOX 11’s morning news and entertainment program Good Day LA. But his most impactful role to date has been as an ally to the #MeToo movement. Thank you, Mark, for standing in solidarity with your female co-workers!