Hallmark’s WHEN CALLS THE HEART Season 8 to Showcase Biblical Values
By Movieguide® Staff
The faith-based series WHEN CALLS THE HEART is Hallmark Channel’s most-watched and longest-running primetime series. According to executive producer Brian Bird, in February 2021, the show’s Christian values will continue.
“When everybody else is serving up zombies, vampires, crystal meth dealers and dead bodies, we’re serving up hope, faith, love, grade, forgiveness and community,” Bird told The Christian Post.
Bird, who has worked in Hollywood for decades, said he is “Praying that season 8 will be a huge booster shot of hope for everyone who watches — a vaccine against the frustration and loneliness of 2020.”
One of the show’s draws, especially for female fans known as “hearties,” is the biblically based encouragement.
To encourage this further, Bird and the team created a devotional series to go along with the hit TV show.
Bird talked with the Christian Post about some of the differences between the older seasons and season 8.
“Over the seasons, sometimes the hearties and other fans of the show feel we take the love stories and courtships a little too slowly. They want our characters to hurry and make a decision already,” Bird said. “Well, season 8 delivers the goods in that category, and even though probably half of the audience will be rooting in the wrong direction, Elizabeth makes a decision. I’ll leave it at that, other than to say we could probably rename the town from Hope Valley to Love Valley this season!”
Bird also mentioned his faith and how that influenced Season 8.
“I think the big narrative of season 8 also follows one of the passages of Scripture that has always personally gotten me through the curveballs of life,” Bird said. “James 1:2-4 says, ‘Consider it all joy, brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.'”
Bird recognized God-honoring entertainment’s importance to combat the rising popularity for mainstream media to adopt excessive immoral content.
“I’m not sure how it happened, and I don’t think it’s some big conspiracy meant to destroy families, but I believe there has been a collective case of amnesia in the TV business in the last decade about how to make family-friendly shows that not only don’t ambush the values of many people in the audience but actually try to reflect and affirm their values,” Bird said.
Bird continued: “For some reason, in the push for ratings in a competitive and noisy marketplace where it’s really challenging to get new TV shows and movies on the audience’s radar, I think the pressure to succeed has pushed family, faith and values-oriented content out of the mainstream. In the drive to get attention, things get edgier and more cynical and pretty soon we’re all going over a cliff into really dark content.”
However, Bird maintained that there is a thriving market for uplifting and family-friendly content.
“What we have found with WHEN CALLS THE HEART and what I think bodes well for others who want to make this kind of content, is that there is a massive hunger out there for values-centered TV and film,” Bird said.
Bird continued: “In a way, shows like WHEN CALLS THE HEART which might have been seen as old-fashioned back in the day, are now revolutionary, counterprogramming to what everybody else is doing. They offer a diet of razor blades and broken glass. We’re offering soul food. And the fact that we are one of the top scripted cable shows on TV during our broadcast run each season, with an average of 3.6 million live-plus viewers, is proof that we’re offering up a menu people want.”
Bird said that although many people in the entertainment business do not share his faith, he never feels like he has to hide his Christianity.
“I have never felt like I had to apologize for my faith as a Christian working in the film and TV business, and I rarely encounter others who are expecting an apology,” Bird said.
In 2018, WHEN CALLS THE HEART won the Epiphany Prize® for Most Inspiring TV Program at the Movieguide® Awards. The show was also nominated for the Epiphany Prize for Inspiring TV and the Faith & Freedom Award for TV in 2014.
WHEN CALLS THE HEART: THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS BLESSING won the Epiphany Prize® for Inspiring Television Program at the 27th Annual Gala:
“There are 350 million people in our country and there is a desire for great family programming. It is so evident tonight. I thank you for that, Ted,” producer Brad Krevoy said.
Bird also spoke while at the Movieguide® Awards Gala:
The world needs hope right now. And hope, faith, and love is what we do best on When Calls the Heart. It’s kind of revolutionary programming, I think, in today’s day and age, right? It wasn’t, maybe 10, 15 years ago. I don’t think there’s really any other family programs, except for what the Hallmark Channel puts on. We love the fact that a whole family can watch together, and people don’t have to be off in their separate rooms, on their little iPads, they can watch as a family and learn from the show, and discuss the show and take it, have a deeper conversation about what they’ve seen.
Enjoy this throwback interview with Brian Bird and WCTH lead actress Erin Krakow!