(Editor's note: The following interview was conducted before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike.)
Legions of #Hearties rejoiced back in June of 2022 when Hallmark Channel announced their beloved series When Calls the Heart had been renewed for a 10th season. It's usually a nail-biting time for fans when a season of the show concludes, as they eagerly await a renewal announcement, but the season 10 announcement came with a bonus -- an eleventh season was simultaneously given the go-ahead. "It was a great feeling going into season 10, knowing we had an 11th," series star and executive producer Erin Krakow (pictured above) beamed during an exclusive interview with MediaVillage.
"That was a huge weight off all our shoulders," she continued. "It's lovely to feel the support of the network, that our executives believe in the show, and that they just love the Hearties so much that they want to keep giving them their favorite show. It's very meaningful to the fans, and I know it's super-meaningful to all of us who make this show. We're really genuinely excited to get back to work every season, so it's nice to have that to look forward to."
When Calls was one of the first shows to resume production after the COVID production shutdown, and while the majority of the world has returned to some normalcy, as an EP on the series, Krakow along with the entire cast and crew are still treading cautiously. "As one of the first shows to get back to work I felt so grateful to be working with the team, and especially one that took it seriously," she said. "They made sure everyone felt safe and took all the precautions necessary. Things have relaxed a bit, and it's nice to feel more comfortable about gathering with all our friends on set.
"But I will say our crew is still being very careful despite all that," she added. "Because, although the world is moving on and we're in a much better place now, we want to make sure that everyone stays healthy, so we're all still being a little careful. [We have] completely finished the season; it's gone through post-production and it's ready to [be telecast]."
Krakow promises fans of the series more beautiful moments, along with a few new characters who will bring about some surprising twists and turns. News of an eleventh season allowed for a deeper dive into some of the storylines, as writers knew they had more time to explore and develop them.
"Oh boy," she laughed when asked for some teasers. "It's always tough to know what to say without spoiling anything! But I can share it is a very full, dramatic, exciting, heartfelt season. A lot is going on and it is very, very exciting. I feel bad that our viewers have to wait as long as they do between these two seasons. But what I'm hoping is that season 10 proves to be worth the wait, because I think we really deliver. We do have some really exciting new characters. Oftentimes when we meet new characters in Hope Valley, they're there to shake things up a little bit, stir up trouble, and sometimes have an effect on characters that you already know and love. This season is no exception, and I will leave it at that."
Krakow had just wrapped production on season 10 of When Calls when she jumped into the Hallmark Channel movie The Wedding Cottage alongside Brendan Penny. That project provided a nice refrain from her usual executive producer duties. "That [movie] was an interesting experience," she recalled. "Because I'd been so wrapped up in the behind-the-scenes world of When Calls the Heart, having the experience of showing up, and just doing my job as an actor was freeing and also scary. When I'd go home at night there was no being on calls. I was not watching dailies, and not watching every cut of a scene.
"I found myself texting Brendan every now and again, being like, 'Did we land on a scene? What do you think this is going to look like?' Not so much out of insecurity, but more curiosity. It was a strange feeling to feel so removed from that part of the process and I realized on that movie it's become really important to me that I get to see the project throughout the process along the way.
"Now it's on to season 11 of When Calls," she added in closing. "We can't wait."
Season 10 of When Calls the Heart begins Sunday, July 30 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.
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