When Calls the Heart has returned to Hallmark for its sixth season, and it's bound to be very different from seasons past for a bunch of reasons, not least of which is the arrival of Elizabeth's baby. Aside from a Christmas special that aired back in December, the show has been off the air since April 2018. It seems a whole lot of fans were ready for it to be back, as the Season 6 premiere broke records and came just behind The Walking Dead. Who would have ever thought?
In Live+3 day calculations, the Season 6 premiere of When Calls the Heart ranks as the #2 original scripted show of the week, coming in behind just The Walking Dead. Who could have guessed that a show about a small Canadian town would be just behind the show about the zombie apocalypse? At least Jack didn't die via zombie bite, baseball bat, or whatever those Whisperers have in store for the survivors next on The Walking Dead. Things are looking up on When Calls the Heart!
The Season 6 premiere, which aired on February 24, scored a 2.9 rating, 3.1 million total viewers, and 449,000 of those viewers in the women 25-54 age demographic. That demo may not be the one most valued by all networks, but the network that is home of an ever-growing supply of happily-ever-after holiday movies certainly values it. In addition to ranking as the second original scripted series episode of the week, the premiere bumps When Calls the Heart to the third original scripted cable series of the year so far.
The numbers aren't just great in comparison to the competition. The Season 6 premiere was the highest-rated and most-watched premiere episode in the history of the series in women 18-49 and total viewers. The episode reached more than 3.6 million "unduplicated total viewers." If anybody at Hallmark was worried that When Calls the Heart would run out of steam by the time it hit Season 6 (and lost its leading man), I would say that these numbers are proof that plenty of people are still invested!
Hallmark probably wasn't too worried, even before the numbers for the Season 6 premiere came in. More than a week before the sixth season kicked off, Hallmark announced that a spinoff of When Calls the Heart is in the works. The spinoff will be called When Hope Calls and showcase a couple of characters that debuted during the 2018 holiday special. Lillian and Grace are sisters from the holiday special, and they will open an orphanage in a small village in the North.
Will the ratings for When Calls the Heart continue to deliver and come in just behind The Walking Dead on cable TV? It's difficult to say. This was a premiere, after all, and it's possible that subsequent episodes won't score such impressive numbers. Fans also shouldn't count on When Calls the Heart beating The Walking Dead any time soon during weeks when they both air new episodes.