Hyland Goodrich, Erin Krakow, and Pascale Hutton on When Calls the Heart. Work on Season 11 of the show has already begun. (Image: Hallmark Media)

The co-creator of Hallmark’s popular series When Calls the Heart said that work on Season 11 has begun on schedule. Brian Bird, who writes and produces the show, said the SAG-AFTRA strike in the U.S. will have some effect on the series, but that the crew is working around it.

“I know some [of] you have expressed your concern about how the current labor disputes with the writers and actors might [affect] the production of Season 11,” Bird wrote in a Facebook post.

The strike

SAG-AFTRA, a union that represents 160,000 actors across the U.S., began striking on July 14. They joined the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike since May after failing to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over working conditions and pay.

Among the complaints brought by union leaders are the shorter duration of television shooting schedules, which means longer periods of time actors go without steady pay, and smaller residuals — amounts paid to actors each time a movie or show is aired. According to representatives of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, residuals have taken a hit with the advent of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Meanwhile, in Canada

Though the strike has brought production in the U.S. to a standstill, When Calls the Heart is filmed in Canada. Some of the actors in the series are SAG-AFTRA members but others belong to the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. Though the Canadian union has expressed solidarity with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, ACTRA has not voted to go on strike.

In a recent interview, Erin Krakow promised romance and drama in Season 10 of When Calls the Heart. (Image: Hallmark Media)

This means that writing and some filming can go ahead as scheduled for When Calls the Heart.

“I want you [to] know that our intrepid and fearless Vancouver production team have prepared an extraordinary contingency plan that will honor the WGA and SAG/ACTRA strikes, while at the same time keeping the streets of Hope Valley very busy in the weeks and months ahead,” Bird wrote.

Season 10

Fans have been waiting for more than a year to see the new season of When Calls the Heart. The show typically premieres in February or March but Hallmark pushed back the premiere date this year in order to promote two new series, The Way Home and Ride.

While Hearties are excited that their favorite show is coming back at the end of July, some were worried about Season 11.

Peaceful resolution

In his Facebook post, Bird said work would begin as the team waited for a peaceful resolution to the labor disputes:

“On Monday, July 17, the production of Season 11 BEGINS with all of our fine Canadian writers and cast- and-crew-members back to work while we wait for a peaceful resolution of these labor talks. And for the day our US writers and actors are allowed to return. And when you experience Season 11 in 2024, through the seamless magic of the filmmaking and storytelling process, it will make it seem like they were there all along.”

Bird also thanked fans for their support.

“As you know, life and circumstances have thrown curveballs at #WhenCallstheHeart many times over the last decade,” he wrote. “And you #Hearties have always rolled with the punches and risen to the occasion to show your support for the show. We are so grateful for you and your loyalty, even when you don’t always agree with our choices, and we hope you know that we know you are the reason for our success. We can’t wait for you to see Season 10 and a few surprises we have in store for you. Your viewership this Summer matters as much as it ever has. And we can’t wait for you to see Season 11 in 2024… and Lord-willing, seasons 12 through 20!”

This is an ongoing story. We will update it as more information becomes available.

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