With a passionate work ethic, versatile prowess and an insatiable sense of humor and charm, Jill Wagner is the American Girl who’s established herself as a widely recognizable actress and television personality. Her diverse body of work combined with a rapidly growing fan base has demonstrated her appeal to a broad range of audiences who can easily relate to her approachable wit and down-to-earth personality.
There are few who’ve been able to successfully transition between acting and hosting duties, but Wagner has broken down barriers with her inherent ability to do both. She wrapped her third season as the host of the INSP TV series, “Handcrafted America,” where she traveled the country in search of talented artisans who continue to make sought-after, contemporary products the traditional way – with their own two hands. Wagner’s enthusiasm and unique style of getting to the heart of the story and personalities behind some of America’s most skilled workers is a big reason why the series has been successful.
Hosting is nothing new for the beautiful, North Carolina native. Wagner spent seven seasons on ABC’s hit reality series, “Wipeout,” where she regularly interviewed and encouraged contestants competing on the world’s largest obstacle course.
On the acting front, Wagner recently appeared in the breakout independent film Braven, where she starred opposite Jason Momoa (“Game of Thrones,” Aquaman). She also starred in MTV’s hit series, “Teen Wolf,” where she played Kate Argent, one of the main antagonists of the show’s first and fourth seasons. After her success on the series, she was asked to host the after-show titled, “Wolf Watch.”
Born in Winston-Salem, NC, Wagner and her brother were raised by their grandmother and father, a former U.S. Marine and local tire shop owner. She attended North Carolina State University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Business.
Family is very important to Wagner and she regularly chooses family-themed projects based upon her grandmother’s recommendations. When not filming or pursuing new career aspirations, she regularly travels home to North Carolina, where her grandmother continues to be a driving force in her life. Because of her family ethic, Wagner has done such films as Hallmark Channel’s “Autumn Dreams” as well as the highly rated “Christmas Cookies,” “A Harvest Wedding,” “Karen Kingsbury’s Maggie’s Christmas Miracle,” “Pearl in Paradise,” and most recently “Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa.”
Actively involved in giving back, Wagner has paid homage to her father and other military veterans by traveling overseas to such places as Afghanistan to support our troops. In addition, her charitable involvement as a spokesperson for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as her own “Jill’s Closet for a Cure” campaign has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help find a cure for a disease that has touched the lives of so many, including her own family.
Fans still recognize Wagner from her time as the spokesperson for Lincoln Mercury, where her popular television commercials were an effective campaign tool for the brand, as well as giving her widespread recognition within American households.
Wagner first made her mark in Hollywood when she was cast as the first female, regular sketch performer on MTV’s hit series “Punk’d” opposite Ashton Kutcher. Some of her memorable appearances included the “punking” of such celebrities as Katie Holmes, Usher and Tommy Lee.
On the big screen, Wagner made a sensational horror debut starring in the award-winning feature, Splinter, opposite Shea Whigham (“Boardwalk Empire”). The film is a disturbing yet masterfully crafted horror feature where Jill showcased her ability to carry top billing in a feature film and earned her a cult following.
As an actively involved woman who’s dedicated herself to a regular fitness regime, Wagner often says, “There’s nothing better than cranking some classic rock in my headphones and hiking up a mountain.” But whether she’s climbing a mountain or taking on new challenges as one of Hollywood’s most dynamic and versatile artists, this All-American Girl’s message remains the same: “It’s the view from the top that makes it all worthwhile.”
Mark Deklin is most recently known for his role as Senator Jack Bowman on ABC’s “Designated Survivor.” He was also recently seen on TNT’s “Major Crimes” and recently wrapped the fifth season of “Grace & Frankie” on Netflix. Deklin was a series regular on “Devious Maids” and on ABC’s “GCB” (based on the book Good Christian Bitches), CBS’ hit action series “Hawaii Five-0” as Stark Edwards, the husband of Scott Caan’s ex-wife, and “Lonestar” on ABC. His other television credits include TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland,” “Better Off Ted,” the SyFy mini-series “Riverworld,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Big Love,” “Nip/Tuck,” “The Ex List” and “Sex & the City.” He has appeared in the films Herbie Fully Loaded, The Wish List and most recently, Tarzan. Along with “Grace and Frankie,” in 2019 Deklin will appear in the new CBS drama “The Code.”
Deklin’s Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Cyrano de Bergerac (with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner,) Sweet Smell of Success (with John Lithgow,) The Lion King,Arms & the Man, As You Like It, Macbeth, Six-Six-Sixty, Measure for Measure, Tallulah Hallelujah, The Alchemist and Home of the Brave. He has worked at regional theaters across the country, performing a wide range of roles in such plays as Othello, Hay Fever, Snakebit, An Ideal Husband, Romeo & Juliet, The Big Slam, Coriolanus, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Freewill and Wanton Lust, Troilus & Cressida, Born Yesterday and The Taming of the Shrew.
Deklin earned his M.F.A. from the University of Washington’s highly esteemed PATP conservatory, as well as his union cards and a certification with the Society of American Fight Directors.
Holly Robinson Peete
Actress, author, talk show host, activist and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete has been touched by the entertainment industry almost of her life. Her career as an actress dates back more than three decades and has led her to becoming a voice for her father, her son and her community.
She was recently seen at the center of Hallmark Channel’s new and very first primetime family docu-series, “Meet the Peetes,” which returns for a second season in 2019. She has starred in three previous “Morning Show Mysteries” originals for Hallmark Mysteries & Movies, and recently co-starred in the Hallmark original movie “Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa.”
Robinson Peete had her first experience in front of the camera at the age of four when she appeared on television opposite her father, Matthew Robinson, who served as a producer and portrayed the original beloved character of Gordon on the iconic children’s program “Sesame Street.” While she knew even at that young age her calling was to be an actress, Robinson Peete opted to lead a typical childhood rather than searching to be the next child star.
However, upon finishing her college education, Robinson Peete’s heart led her back to entertainment. In 1986, she landed a starring role on the FOX television drama “21 Jump Street” opposite unknown cast members including Johnny Depp. She went on to star in many other successful television series including “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” “For Your Love” and “One on One.” Robinson Peete’s successful television career places her as one of only a handful of actresses to star in four shows in syndication. In addition, she had a recurring role on the hit comedy series “Mike & Molly” as well as NBC’s hit drama series “Chicago Fire.”
In 1997, Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, formed the HollyRod Foundation, inspired by her father’s courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease, with the mission to help improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s. Then in 2005, inspired by their eldest son’s autism diagnosis, HollyRod Foundation’s mission expanded to provide support and resources to those affected by an autism diagnosis. Through the HollyRod Foundation and her family’s personal experiences, Robinson Peete has become one of the most trusted advocates for consistent and reliable education, outreach and support for both Parkinson’s and autism.
Her autism advocacy also extends to her book co-written with daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, entitled My Brother Charlie (Scholastic): a bestselling, NAACP Image Award-winning children’s book about autism from the sibling’s perspective. With her first book Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game: A Women’s Guide to Loving Pro Football (2005, Rodale), Robinson Peete won the 2006 Quill Literacy Award. The follow-up to the children’s book entitled Same But Different: Teen Life On The Autism Express – which was co-authored by her twins Ryan Elizabeth & RJ – was released in spring 2016.
Her longevity and visibility in the entertainment community has led Robinson Peete to a successful career as a brand ambassador/spokesperson for some of the country’s biggest brands. Robinson Peete’s consumer and mom-friendly personal brand has partnered with Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, Colgate, Skechers, Epipen, Carnation and AARP, among others.
Robinson Peete’s singing talents have been displayed on theme songs for both “21 Jump Street” and “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.” She also did her own singing as Diana Ross in the miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream.” Robinson Peete says fondly that singing is her “first love and passion.”
In addition to her philanthropic work through the HollyRod Foundation, Robinson Peete has become involved with other organizations as well. She currently serves as a member of the board of her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine’s Board of Overseers.
Robinson Peete’s philanthropic efforts have earned her numerous awards and honors including: Ford’s Freedom Sisters, American Mentor Award, The Southern California Broadcasters’ Association Community Service Award, Gerald R. Ford People Helping People Award, The March of Dimes Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures Award, USC Woman of Distinction Award, Anheuser Busch John E. Jacob Community Service Award, The Genii Award, The Girls Inc. Mentor Award, A Place Called Home Humanitarian Award, McDonald’s 365 Black Award, Los Angeles Magazine’s Most Inspirational Women Award, and many more.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Los Angeles from the age of nine, Robinson Peete was voted “most talented” in high school alongside fellow classmate and future actor Rob Lowe. She did her undergraduate studies at the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College where she majored in Psychology and French. She spent her junior year studying abroad at Sorbonne University in France and became fluent in the language. Robinson Peete and husband of 20+ years, Rodney Peete, are the proud parents of four children ages 12-20. They currently reside in Los Angeles.
Ashley Williams is one of Hollywood’s most versatile actresses and continues to bring her talents to comedies and dramas in film, television and theatre. She most recently starred in the TV Land series “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” where she played Jeannie Gaffigan, Jim’s TV wife, the grounding yet zany, wind beneath his wings.
Williams also appeared alongside Jessica Chastain and Oscar Issac in the critically acclaimed film A Most Violent Year. In past years, she starred in the Warner Bros. film Something Borrowed, alongside Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin. Her other film credits include the Oscar®-nominated indie Margin Call, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and starred Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, and Zachary Quinto.
Williams first won over audiences as a teenager when she played Meg Ryan’s daughter, Danielle Andropoulos, on “As the World Turns.” Later, she starred alongside Mark Feuerstein in the NBC series “Good Morning Miami” and in the Lifetime telefilm “Montana Sky.” Williams also had a memorable recurring role on the comedy “How I Met Your Mother,” as Victoria, “the one that got away” for Ted, played by Josh Radnor. She was so popular on the show that she won an online poll conducted by the production staff as to the character fans would most like to see the as “The Mother.” Her other television credits include recurring roles on the Holly Hunter series “Saving Grace,” “Warehouse 13” and “Huff,” as well as guest-starring roles on “FBI,” “Instinct,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Monk,” “The Mentalist,” “The Good Wife,” “Psych,” “Girls” and “Law & Order: SVU,” to name just a few.
In recent years, Williams began producing movies for Hallmark Channel, debuting with “Love on a Limb,” which aired as part of the network’s “Fall Harvest” Programming Event in 2016 to record breaking ratings and stunning reviews. She now has more films in development with Hallmark and is looking forward to shooting her next producing foray, “Christmas at the Madison” with her older sister Kimberly Williams-Paisley. She loves working with the executives at Hallmark who have empowered her creatively in ways she never could have imagined as an actress. In addition to her ongoing behind-the-camera work for Hallmark Channel, Williams has starred in the Hallmark Channel Original Movies “October Kiss,” “Love on a Limb” and “Christmas in Evergreen.”
Born in Westchester, New York, Williams studied at Boston University’s renowned School of Theatre Arts, and spent a year abroad at LAMDA and RADA in London. She was a member of the acting company at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival at Williams College. Her first job out of college was understudying both Rachel Weisz and Gretchen Mol in the Off-Broadway play The Shape of Things, written and directed by Neil LaBute. At various times during the run of the play, Williams performed both roles. She also starred alongside Wendie Malick in the Off-Broadway production of Burleigh Grime$ and opposite Tom Skerritt and Sebastian Arcelus in the Broadway production of A Time To Kill, based on the best-selling John Grisham novel.
With a natural skill for writing, Williams has penned several moving and personal pieces about her miscarriage and her mother’s longtime battle with Alzheimer’s disease for People.com and Medium.com. In addition to these other passions, Williams is a birth doula, offering emotional, physical and informational support to mothers and their partners leading up to labor, through childbirth, and throughout postpartum. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and New York with her husband and two young sons.
Barbara Niven is an actor, producer and speaker…but most of all she’s a mother and grandmother who wants to help make the world a better place for her grandchildren.
During her acting career, she has appeared in more than 100 film and TV roles and 2500 TV and radio commercials. She also served three years on the National Board of Directors for the Screen Actors Guild.
For three seasons, Niven has starred opposite Treat Williams, Diane Ladd and Jesse Metcalfe in the #1 rated Hallmark Channel prime time series “Chesapeake Shores.” She recently starred in Hallmark Channel’s “Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa.” Niven starred with Alison Sweeney in the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original movie franchise “Murder She Baked” and in the Hallmark Channel Original Series “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove.” Her performance as Marilyn Monroe in HBO’s “The Rat Pack” continues to garner praise as “one of the Top 3 portrayals of the blonde icon on Film & TV.”
Niven has also gained international acclaim as Hollywood’s Top Media Trainer and Video Marketing Coach. She created her Unleash Your Star Power!TM system so she could teach people how to hone their message, overcome fear and use video and public speaking to dominate their niche.
Niven is also a celebrity speaker and best-selling author. Business and motivational topics include Unleash Your Star Power!, Be a Video Marketing Superstar, ACT As If, Live Your Dreams!, and Eating Disorders and Pressures to be Perfect.
Barbara Niven is a huge animal welfare advocate, and is a National Ambassador for American Humane. For more information visit www.BarbaraNiven.com.
Rukiya Bernard is a series regular in the TV series “Van Helsing” and has been in “Android Employed” as well as in HGTV’s “The Stagers.” Recently, Bernard appeared in Hallmark Channel’s original movies “One Winter Weekend” and “Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa,” and was previously in “Just the Way You Are.”
Appearing in a wide variety of made-for-television movies, including Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ “Debbie Macomber’s Dashing Through the Snow” and “The Gourmet Detective,” Bernard can also be seen in Lifetime’s “Ungodly Acts” and “Accidental Obsession.”
Bernard has appeared in episodes of “Supernatural,” “Proof,” Intruders,” “Witches of East End” and “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour,” as well as others. Her feature film credits include Wonder, The Cabin in the Woods, Tooth Fairy and The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Andrew Francis is a Canadian actor and voice actor living in Vancouver B.C. He has been performing since the age of six, and fell into voice work at the age of nine. Some of his voice credits include Dinotrux for Dreamworks, Ninjago for Lego, My Little Pony for Hasbro and Max Steel for Mattel. On screen, he recently completed season three of the hit Hallmark Channel original series “Chesapeake Shores” as Connor O’Brien