PASADENA, Calif. — Holly Robinson Peete missed seeing the Eagles beat the Falcons last weekend, but she’s behind them all the way in their drive toward the Super Bowl.
At least now that the Los Angeles Rams are out of it.
The Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and 21 Jump Street star grew up in Mount Airy and is married to onetime Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete, but when it comes to football and family, there’s a pecking order, she explained during a Crown Media Networks party on the grounds of Tournament House last Saturday.
Her brother-in-law, Skip Peete, is a running back coach for the Rams, “so it’s family. … I’m only loyal to whoever’s giving my brother-in-law a paycheck. That’s the bottom line,” she said. “But since the Rams lost, I’m excited for my Eagles.”
Peete’s a genuine football fan — she even wrote a book, Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game: A Woman’s Guide to Loving Pro Football — but she missed the Eagles-Falcons game because “we were working all day” on Meet the Peetes, the Hallmark Channel’s first family “reality” show, which premieres Feb. 18.
Peete was already part of the Hallmark family, that ever-growing group of familiar faces who keep the channel’s popular mysteries and romances running year-round. She can be seen this weekend starring opposite Rick Fox as she plays a chef who becomes a murder suspect in Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (9 p.m. Sunday, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries). The movie’s based on a novel by Today weather guy Al Roker and Dick Lochte. (Roker’s also one of the movie’s executive producers.)
When OWN decided not to renew For Peete’s Sake after its second season, Bill Abbott, president of Crown Media Networks — parent company of Hallmark and its sister channels — “said, ‘We want to go into unscripted, but we don’t have the family, and we feel like you guys are,’ and here we are,” Peete said.
Though the title’s new, it will be “pretty much the same show. I’d say the biggest difference is that Hallmark has really embraced the autism piece” of the Peetes’ story, she said. (Their son, RJ, now 20 and working for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is autistic.)
“Today, we were at LAX shooting an episode where we brought autism families on an airplane for American Airlines, and we just gave them a chance to walk through the airport. Because flying with kids with autism is a nightmare. For me, it was awful. So we brought these kids on, to see what they’d experience, and their families, and it was really special. And people were coming by, and seeing the cameras at LAX and saying, ‘What are you guys doing here?’ When they heard what we were doing, they were really touched. So those were the things that maybe the other network didn’t want to cover. And these guys are all into it,” she said.
She said she also sees Hallmark working to include more people of color in its programming.
“If you think about it, the first family reality show they have are an African American family, so I think that’s pretty telling about what they’re trying to do. And they are trying to diversify. And then the Morning Show Mystery, with Al [producing and playing himself] and Rick Fox and I being the first leads of color, it’s an awesome thing. Because everyone watches Hallmark Channel,” Peete said.
“It has a very diverse following and audience, so I think the next step is to diversify [the programming and casting] a little more, and we’re happy to do it,” she said. “For now, for me, I just want to do a Christmas movie. I would love to be a lead in a Christmas movie.”