Updated on June 1 at 8:38 p.m. ET with information from Steines’ rep.
Hallmark Channel clarified exclusively to TheWrap on Friday that there were no complaints about Mark Steines’ behavior on or off the set of “Home & Family” before it abruptly cut ties with the veteran anchor after six years.
Mixing the #MeToo climate in Hollywood with the sudden and unclear way the Crown Media cable channel announced it was severing ties with the “Entertainment Tonight” alum, some viewers wildly speculated online about possible misconduct. But there wasn’t “anything negative” behavior-wise when it came to Steines, a Hallmark Channel insider told us.
Instead, the show is just changing and going in a different direction, which is likely to include a new co-host, we’re told. That’s exactly what Steines was told too on Wednesday after taping what he didn’t realize would be his final show, a rep for the host told TheWrap.
Steines was simply presented with a vague explanation about changing the show’s “creative,” and specifically told he was not being fired for cause, the rep told us. A person with knowledge of Steines’ Hallmark deal told TheWrap that his contract was not up, and they expect to be paid out through its conclusion.
Right or wrong, he’s out — but who’s in? Given the demographic makeup of “Home & Family” and Hallmark’s audience, as well as the daily lifestyle show’s female-skewing on-air talent pool, we would bet on a woman joining Debbie Matenopoulos.
However, no decision there has been made yet, we’re told. Stayed tuned to TheWrap (and, we suppose, “Home & Family”) on that one.
Here’s the somewhat-cryptic way we all first learned about Steines’ departure: “Today Hallmark Channel has parted ways with Mark Steines as the co-host of the network’s lifestyle series ‘Home & Family,'” a Thursday night statement read. “We are extremely grateful to Mark for his incredible work and wish him all the best success in his future endeavors.”
That email came through at 9:45 p.m. ET.
On Friday, when reached by TheWrap, a Hallmark rep added this: “Shows evolve and change all the time. Mark has been an instrumental part of ‘Home & Family’ for the past 6 years, and we are extremely grateful for his incredible work and leadership. We truly wish Mark all the best in his future endeavors.”
“We have a very hard announcement to deliver,” Matenopoulos closed Friday’s show. “Our dear friend, our very good friend, and my wonderful co-host for years, Mark Steines, is no longer with ‘Home & Family.’ He has been an amazing friend to all of us here at Hallmark Channel — the cast, the crew, and a wonderful friend to all of you at home as well.”
“And we are grateful to Mark,” she continued, fighting back tears. “We want to thank him from the bottom of our hearts for six of the most incredible years that he has had here hosting this incredible show that he helped build. He really did. He’s been here from the beginning and a lot of this show has Mark’s handprint on it.”
“So we support him in everything he does in the future, his future endeavors,” Steines’ friend and now-former co-worker wound down. “We will miss him dearly and we will think about him fondly and often, and we thank all of you at home for your kindness and your understanding and your support and for being part of our family everyday.”
“Home & Family” airs weekdays at 10 a.m./9c on Hallmark Channel.