SALT LAKE CITY — Considering the series of dramatic surprises that ended season five of the family-friendly Hallmark Channel program "When Calls the Heart," this year's Christmas special has fans especially curious. But don't think that means the cast is giving anything away.
“There might be a baby!” Pascale Hutton, who plays actress Rosemary Coulter, wrote in an email interview. It's a tease that fans might have suspected, as the show's beloved schoolteacher, Elizabeth Thornton (Erin Krakow), found out she was pregnant at the conclusion of season five. “The Greatest Christmas Blessing” premieres on Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25.
If the new baby is, in fact, Elizabeth's, then this upcoming Christmas special would lead into the show's sixth season with storylines about a newborn baby rather than a pending birth.
Brian Bird, executive producer and co-creator of the series, likewise hinted at a theme of new birth.
“I would end up in Mountie Nate’s cell if I gave away specific spoilers (wait, was that a spoiler?),” he wrote in an interview for the blog, From the Desk of Kurt Manwaring. “But I think Hearties across the land can look forward to two important developments.
“The most important themes of Christmas are peace on earth and good will to all men … and the birth of hope for the world,” he continued. “I think the topic of new births is a good one for Hearties to ruminate on.”
Regardless of whose baby the Christmas special will feature, Bird wrote that Krakow’s acting prowess will be on full display as a pregnant Elizabeth.
“Erin Krakow is the epitome of what acting is all about,” he wrote. “She is able to become whatever person she is asked to become and can transport herself to a lot of different places in life. … So I was not surprised to find my breath being taken away the first time I saw her ‘with child.' She was the picture of grace and beauty to me, even when having to pretend to be nine months pregnant.
"I can’t wait for Hearties to see her maternal instincts kick in,” he added.
As suggested, Bird also gave fans another clue, this one pertaining to “When Hope Calls,” a spinoff series planned for 2019. The spinoff was announced earlier this year but details have been virtually nonexistent.
While logistics prevent giving a specific air date, the show will almost certainly be available in the coming year, according to Bird.Comment on this story
“The show is in the writing phase right now and filming is not planned until spring sometime,” he wrote. “But I think it’s safe to say Hearties will be able to see the show sometime in late 2019.”
Additionally, although viewers won’t see “When Hope Calls” until 2019, there is a strong possibility the seeds of the new series may be planted in “The Greatest Christmas Blessing,” Bird hinted.
“Be watching for some very specific story elements which may or may not be relevant to the spinoff series coming in 2019.”