STRAWBERRY PLAINS (WATE) - Hollywood coming to East Tennessee for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is giving many local businesses a boost. For Circle G Ranch in Strawberry Plains the star power of Jenny McCarthy is providing just the right kind of exposure.
McCarthy is a guest star on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode being filmed in Knoxville. It will air around Thanksgiving 2012.
The star took a little time away from the set to enjoy a safari with her nine-year-old son.
"I've never been on a safari," said McCarthy, "but my son has said numerous times, please can we go to Africa, I want to go on a safari. So I might just tell him that we're in Africa right now, as we go on this safari."
The trip would provide inspiration for a safari-themed play room for the Watson children, the Knoxville family chosen to receive the new home.
Circle G Ranch owners Christy and Matt Michel said they were honored their park was chosen. "You've got a safari right in Knoxville's backyard," said Christy Michel. "So if you're looking for safari, Africa theme, inspiration, I think they came to the right place."
"I got a phone call from Extreme Home Makeover and they said we have a really special story that we think you'd be perfect for," explained McCarthy, "which is a family that's been helping out single mothers. Being that I am one and love the show, this is the only show that I actually cry watching, I said sign me up."
Thursday Jenny, son Evan, and several members of the ABC's crew got up close and personal with all kinds of animals in the petting zoo, and boarded a safari truck for the visit of a lifetime.
6 News wasn't permitted to show footage of the safari tour, because it's being saved for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition show, but the trip left an impression.
"The zebra, the antelope, the water buffalo, they were all out," said Michel. "So I think the California folks were really surprised."
"The zebra is my son's favorite animal. I think this is going to go down in the record books as mom is the coolest mom ever," added McCarthy.
The Circle G family thought McCarthy was pretty cool, too. "Man, she's down home," laughed Michel. "She's just like us. She's just like me and you. She's just another mom. She's really easy to get along with."
The Extreme crew left Circle G Ranch with large emu eggs and other items for the African safari play room.
Designer Paul DiMeo will put it together, alongside McCarthy. He also made a trip to the Knoxville Zoo Thursday, where an elephant painted something for the room.