Season 6 of “When Calls the Heart” already was on course to become one of the most fulfilling and exciting in the highest-rated series on the Hallmark Channel. Like its millions of faithful fans, the cast, executive producers and entire production team of “When Calls the Heart” were thrown into a devastating and completely unexpected tumult following the revelation regarding Lori Loughlin and her husband’s involvement with the college admissions scandal. “Hearties” were beyond anxious when it was announced on social media that the March 17 episode would be pulled while “all creative options” were weighed.

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Loyal viewers were assured that no plans to cancel the drama were in progress.

Hope and faith are prevailing themes in the saga set in the Northwest Territory, and word came on March 18 from “When Calls the Heart” executive producers to further encourage and inspire the faithful viewers that their favorite show and its stars will return. The transition after the unplanned trauma may take a little longer, but there are many more stories to tell about the lives of Hope Valley.

Stronger together

As confirmed by both People via MSN and The Wrap, a “producers’ statement” from Brian Bird and the other executive producers on “When Calls the Heart” confirmed the shock of the showrunners right along with the fans.

Brian Bird wrote from the heart in unison with Michael Landon Jr., Brad Krevoy, and Alfonso Moreno in thanking fans for their continuing support. “’ When Calls the Heart” has always been even bigger than the sum of its parts,” Bird further elaborated. He stressed that the show is on a “creative hiatus” to do some “retooling” for the remainder of Season 6 and that the process has already begun.

“Hope Valley will return to your TV screens as soon as we can bring the episodes to you,” promised the producer.

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Still a legacy to come

The gratitude was clear throughout the open expression, as Bird extolled the private messages related by longtime fans as “the courage we count on as we work through this challenging transition.” He also confessed that the show of love and support “brought a lot of tears to the cast and crew.” He credited that “your Hearties community” will remain the most important legacy of the TV series.

The concept of an abiding legacy is already weaving threads through Season 6. Leading lady, Erin Krakow, who embodies the resourceful and resilient teacher and new mother, Elizabeth Thornton, translated the theme of legacy to her son, Jack (Lincoln and Gunnar Taylor) in Episode 3.

She lovingly introduces Sergeant, the horse that was so faithful to his father, explaining that she will keep him well and safe until her growing son can take the reins.

Pascale Hutton, who portrays Rosemary, was the portrayal of perfect longing and doubt combined, as she looked on while her husband (Kavan Smith) played with baby Jack. There are countless ways that the future and the possibility of a family can unfold for this couple, and fans will be cheering them on all along the way to their own legacy.

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New saloon owner, Lucas Bouchard, brought into being by Chris McNally, clearly wants to change the direction of his own legacy. Hints from the past, however bothersome, are keys to paving a better future, and the residents of Hope Valley always have the heart to forgive. One of the first people he is likely to seek forgiveness from is Elizabeth, after inadvertently asking about her husband. That conversation will certainly be meaningful to the man who already has an eye for her.

The new Mountie in town, Nathan Grant, played by the other dashing newcomer, Kevin McGarry, will still arrive to make his first impression, after a short delay, and he doubtless will want to create his own legacy of law and order for the caring community, knowing he has a hard act to follow, but still a guaranteed promise of friends.

Season 6 is designed to focus on the full community of Hope Valley, including Clara (Ava Bourne) and Jesse (Aren Buchholz) along with Dr. Carson Shepherd (Paul Greene) and his beginning romance with his nurse, Faith (Andrea Brooks).

When Calls the Heart” has overcome disaster, destruction, loss, and deepest grief through the stories of its six seasons, and always leaves its characters and fans with reasons and strength to move forward. The current time of transition will teach more lessons in hope and faithfulness, and the show's return will be well worth the wait.