Hearties are a loyal bunch. The When Calls the Heart superfans keep coming back to the frontier drama, with nearly 3 million people tuning in to watch the much-anticipated season 7 premiere on Feb. 23. They helped make the series the second-most-watched scripted cable drama of night, after The Walking Dead.
Big changes at ‘When Calls the Heart’
Season 6 was a tough one for Hearties. First, they were still coming to terms with the death of Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing), whose character was killed off at the end of season 5, leaving his wife Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) a pregnant widow. (She gave birth to her son Jack Jr. in the show’s 2018 Christmas special.)
Then, an unexpected bombshell hit. Star Lori Loughlin, who had played Abigail Stanton on the show since its debut, was caught up in the college admissions scandal. With prosecutors alleging that Loughlin and her husband had paid bribes to ensure their daughters were admitted to the University of Southern California, the actress was fired from the show mid-season. Hallmark put the series on hiatus temporarily while they retooled future episodes. Ultimately, Loughlin’s character, was written out of the show, but in the interim, many fans worried about the fate of their beloved series.
‘When Calls the Heart’ has its highest-rated premiere ever
Hearties needn’t have fretted that Hallmark would cancel their favorite show. When Calls the Heart came back, and so did viewers. Fans have stuck with the quaint period drama despite the changes. Hallmark even created a spinoff series — When Hope Calls — featuring characters introduced on the show. So it’s not that surprising that fans turned up in droves to watch the season 7 premiere.
The episode “A Moving Picture” attracted 2.9 total viewers on a live+3 basis, according to the network. With a 3.0 household rating, it was the highest-rated season premiere for When Calls the Heart since its premiere in 2014.
The cable debut of the spinoff series When Hope Calls also fared well, attracting 2 million total viewers. The show had previously aired on Hallmark’s streaming-only platform Hallmark Movies Now.
Looking ahead to episode 3
We’re only two episodes in to season 7, but fans have already seen some major developments in Hope Valley. After a tumultuous second episode that saw Nathan (Kevin McGarry) get an unexpected visit from his ne’er-do-well father, the mountie will continue to wrestle with his relationship with his dad in episode 3. In ‘Family Matters,’ airing March 8, Nathan’s niece convinces him to give his father a second chance after he arrests him. The lawman then decides to investigates his father’s crimes. Meanwhile, Elizabeth shares the first chapters of her novel with Lucas (Chris McNally). And Clara (Eva Bourne) and Jess (Aren Buchholz) are checking items off their wedding to-do list.
When Calls the Heart airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel.
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