Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

More Heart. Hallmark Channel’s has renewed its original prime-time romantic western series When Calls the Heart for a third 10-episode season. The plan is to roll out a special two-hour holiday episode around Christmas with the show’s new season officially kicking off in February, 2016. The third season of  WCTH  will air Sundays at 8:00 PM (ET).

Based on the book by Janette Oke, When Call the Heart follows the saga of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young woman who leaves her socialite background behind to take on the challenge of serving as a school teacher in a Canadian mining town. There she crosses paths with a heroic Mountie named JackThornton (Daniel Lissing). The series also stars Lori Loughlin (soon to be seen in Netflix’s Fuller House) as widowed cafe owner Abigail Stanton.

Talking about the show’s success, Hallmark Executive V.P. for Programming Michelle Vicary says “When Calls The Heart has a passionate loyal fan base…and their devotion to the captivating storylines and characters has made this series grow with outstanding ratings and top social media engagement…We are incredibly proud of the series’ success and look forward to bringing families back together on Sunday nights in its new day and time period.”

When Calls the Heart is executive produced by Michael Landon, Jr.,  Brian Bird, Brad Krevoy, Tony Blake, Robin Bernheim and Michael Shepard under the banners of Believe Pictures and Brad Krevoy Television.

UP TV has acquired the full seven-season run of Gilmore Girls. The well-regarded former WB family drama stars Lauren Graham (Parenthood), Alexis Bledel (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants),  Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly, Spy), Kelly Bishop (Bunheads) and the late Edward Herrmann.

The acquisition announcement was made by UP General Manager Amy Winter who hails Gilmore Girls as “one of the most beloved shows in family TV history.”  UP Programming SVP Sophia Kelley adds “Gilmore Girls is a fan-favorite series that retains a very large and passionate following. The strong and loving mother-daughter relationship portrayed in Gilmore Girls is a beautiful testament to the wonderful power of family drama. The series is a perfect fit for our brand of family entertainment.

Gilmore Girls aired from 2000-2007 as one of the crown jewels of the WB Network (now known as The CW). The show  is set in a storybook Connecticut town populated by an eclectic mix of dreamers, artists and everyday folk. The relationship at the core of the series is that of single parent Lorelai Gilmore (Graham) with her teen daughter Rory (Bledel).  Other major characters include Lorelei’s well-to-do parents (Hermann and Bishop and Sookie St. James (McCarthy), a chef with whom Lorelei co-owns a bed-and-breakfast.

The series, created by former Roseanne staff writer Amy Sherman-Palladino, is  known for its fast-paced dialogue and pop-culture references. It was listed as one of Time magazine’s “All-TIME 100 TV Shows” in 2007. It was also was honored with a Viewers for Quality Television Award and, in its debut season, was named New Program of the Year by the Television Critics Association.

As an aside: It’s about time to bring back full-fledged openings to TV series.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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