Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco, a 1997 graduate of , has been tapped by Oprah Winfrey to host her own cooking show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN.
As a star on Oprah's reality series "Your OWN Show," knew months ago that she had won, but couldn't disclose it to anyone but her husband until Friday night's final episode.
The show ended with a twist when Oprah told Kuzmic-Crocco and her co-finalist, Zach Anner of Austin, Texas, that both would be getting their own show. Winfrey told both contestants that each really deserved their own show. Anner will host a travel show called "Rolling Around the World." Both shows are expected to premiere this summer.
In addition to the show, both contestants will get $100,000 and a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox.
"I was stunned. I was convinced Zach was going to win," Kuzmic-Crocco said in a phone interview with Hamilton-Wenham Patch from her home in California on Sunday. "I was so stunned I couldn't laugh or cry."
Kuzmic-Crocco's show will be a cooking show called "Kristina's Fearless Kitchen," which is now in pre-production. A pilot audition video of the show is already posted on the Oprah Your OWN Show website.
Kuzmic-Crocco, 31, is a Croatian native who moved to Wenham at age 15 as a freshman in high school. Before scoring the Oprah show, Kuzmic-Crocco was a stay-at-home mother for her two children after a divorce that left her as a single mother on food stamps.
Just making it on "Your Own Show" was an accomplishment for Kuzmic-Crocco, whose audition video was chosen from 15,000 others. She was one of 10 contestants on the show.
The OWN is in channel 226 on Comcast and 161 on Verizon Fios in Hamilton and Wenham.
Kuzmic-Crocco said she's relieved and excited that the cat is now out of the bag. She also wanted to thank all of her supporters, including many local residents.
"I really want people in Hamilton and Wenham to know how thankful I am for all their support," Kuzmic-Crocco said. "All the messages during this whole time, without knowing if I won, I really appreciated it."