|Lori Loughlin stars in WHEN CALLS THE HEART|
The scripted drama, inspired by Janette Oke's bestselling book series about the Canadian West, is the second books-to-film project the network has developed with the acclaimed author.
WHEN CALLS THE HEART reunites Janette Oke with Executive Producer and Director, Michael Landon, Jr. who made one of the network's most beloved telefilms of all-time helming the first film in Oke's Love Comes Softly series, a franchise that eventually included 11 highly-rated Hallmark Channel Original Movies. The two-hour backdoor pilot WHEN CALLS THE HEART, from Executive Producers Brad Krevoy, Michael Landon, Jr. and Brian Bird, premiered October 19 and was the top-rated cable television movie of the day.
WHEN CALLS THE HEART tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Lissing) who believes Thatcher's wealthy father has doomed the lawman's career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate's daughter. Set against the wild canvas of a 19th century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.
"Our audience has enthusiastically embraced Janette Oke's Love Come Softly books-to-film series for more than a decade, making the 11 movie franchise the highest-rated in Hallmark Channel history and a persistent favorite with our viewers," said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.
"In WHEN CALLS THE HEART, we are thrilled to reunite the proven formula of Janette Oke, Michael Landon, Jr. and Janette's captivating stories of the American West into our next scripted drama. Great stories, a gifted production team and a talented cast led by Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing and Lori Loughlin will deliver the kind of program that brings families together again to watch television," Vicary concluded.
Executive Producer and director Michael Landon Jr. said "We're all living in very challenging, cynical times and we believe the audience is ready for a family series about a very special community pulling together to overcome their hardships. We're thrilled that Hallmark Channel has given us this opportunity to do such a positive, life-affirming series." Brian Bird, Executive Producer says "We believe with 'When Calls the Heart' we are doing something radical. This is a show that nobody else is doing and we believe it's revolutionary. Imagine: A show an entire family can watch together."
WHEN CALLS THE HEART is a Believe Pictures and Brad Krevoy Television production. Brad Krevoy, Brian Bird, Michael Landon, Jr., and Jimmy Townsend are executive producers. Francisco J. Gonzalez, Alexandre Coscas and Eric Jarboe are co-executive producers.
Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming available in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to a national audience of 88 million subscribers. Hallmark Channel is the nation's leading destination for quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies and specials, as well as some of television's most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, and Frasier. The channel is also home to a range of lifestyle programming, anchored by Home & Family, a daily two-hour live show shot in a fully functional house located on the Universal Studios lot. Hallmark Channel's sibling network, Hallmark Movie Channel, available in HD and SD, focuses on family-friendly movies with a mix of original films, classic theatrical releases, and presentations from the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame library.