Posted on Jul 20, 2017

The wheels of production on season 11 are rolling along nicely. At 1:00 pm yesterday, block 3 (episodes 1105 and 1106) finished filming, meaning exactly one-third of the season is complete. Now, by complete, I mean filmed. After filming comes the process of post-production, where the shots are edited to the exact needed length, then colour correction is performed on the episode, making sure it looks perfect. Then, original music and sound effects – including possibly having the cast in a studio to re-record some of their lines for clarity - are added and mixed in and what results is a completed episode.

Thus we have 6 episodes down and 12 episodes to go. As you read this, it is the second day of the filming of block 4. Episodes 1107 and 1108 are being filmed under the guidance of director Chris Potter.

So that is where production is. As for me? I was half way through answering your questions, so today the blog is dedicated to the remaining questions which were prompted by my recent Thursday blog post. So without any additional fanfare, let me jump right in…

Q: Deb DeLooze asks, If and when there are extras needed for a scene or scenes, where does one find out about that?

A: Here on the blog and on our Twitter and Facebook pages. At this time we do not know if there will be a large crowd scene in a season 11 episode where production will need the presence of a few hundred fans but, when I know, right here is where you will first read about it.

Q: Dorothy Davis asks, Will the above picture change when season 11 begins to better depict the family make up of Heartland (Amy, Ty and baby Borden, Jack and Lisa, Tim, Lou, Katie, and Georgie)?

A: I will answer your question by saying that every season the key art changes. Season 11 will be no different.

Q: Tom Tortorice writes, I have no question except to say "We Love All of You" and this includes all of the crew members and animal trainers. The actors know that we love them but its time thank the workers and all of the helpers.

A: I know it wasn’t a question, but it was such a nice sentiment I had to include it. Thank you, Tom; it takes a lot of people working hard to make Heartland the series that it is, and just as important are the fans who watch the series with a passion that has made it so popular. Kudos to everybody!

Q: Donna Osborn asks, Why can't you be on Hallmark or some other accessible channel?

A: The question is really, why didn’t Hallmark or some other accessible channel choose to air Heartland in the United States? For that answer, you will have to ask your broadcasters.

Q: Minna Carlson writes, I am so glad you are supporting the rebuilding of the horse club. Love from Everett Washington.

A: And the dynamite news is the raffle tickets are going like proverbial hotcakes. It looks like the Clearwater Horse Club may raise the full $10,000. It makes us all very happy to see how Heartland has pitched in to help.

Q: Katrina Masters asks, Will what happened to Ty in Mongolia still be an issue in this season? Thank you.

A: If you mean, will he have recurring health problems? I believe that is not an issue; I think Dr. Borden will be as right as rain this season.

Q: Valeska Guevara writes, I think I'm the only Latina who sees this series greetings from Chile.

A: There were several fans visiting High River over the past few days who watched the filming at Maggie’s Diner from across the street. Some were from Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and yes, Chile! So you are not alone, Valeska. And thank you so much for being a fan.

Q: Alyssa Yoder asks, What brands of jeans does Amy wear in Season 8 and 9?

A: Predominantly the two brands you saw her in during seasons 8 & 9 were Hudson and American Eagle.

Q: Gail Whatley asks, We will be in Montana Aug 5-18. Would drive up to High River if I knew there was a chance to meet any of the cast. Any guest appearances scheduled during this time? Or how could I find out?

A: Any official appearances will be posted here and on our Twitter and Facebook pages. However, while filming is taking place these are kept to a minimum. There may be some happening in September as we approach the season 11 premiere on CBC.

Q: Lyndee Luu writes, Still waiting on series 10, 11 here in Australia on Netflix. I’ve watch[ed] all 1 to 9 series twice.. waiting, waiting.

A: And you will have to wait a little more for two different reasons. Season 11 is only now being filmed. Nobody can see it yet. As for season 10, it is going to be available through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in your country very soon. They are the primary Australian broadcaster. Netflix is the secondary broadcaster. Netflix is only able to make it available after ABC has shown it.

Q: Marion Tarallo asks, When does season 11 begin on UPtv America?

A: It will probably be in 2018, shortly after the season has completely aired in Canada.

Q: Nila D Autry-Havener asks, How can we view this show in the USA?

A: I answered this last week, but I feel I should post again that I did a July 4 post on our Heartland on CBC Facebook page. It’s long but comprehensive and worth a read for any Americans wanting to know about Heartland in the U.S.

Q: Linda Saunders Davis writes, I live in Tulsa Oklahoma. I have found Heartland a few months ago. My Husband and I are absolutely addicted. I'm caught up on all the TV shows and have read 20 of the books. Right now I'm reading the 21st one. I also have three special editions waiting for me. We are always afraid they will stop making the shows. I hope they never stop. I wish I knew why they don't keep Mallory and Jake on the show. I was disappointed that Caleb and Ashley didn't make it. I never liked Peter I wish they had let Lou marry Scott like they did in the books. I also LOVE THE MUSIC, the SCENERY, and the HORSES.

A: Firstly, thanks for the praise. Secondly, the books were targeted to tween girls and, in order to attract a multigenerational audience, several changes were made. You will find this with all adaptations from page to screen. As for how the books play out in regards to the television series, don’t go looking for clues. Remember, in the books, Amy and Ty do not wind up together and she loses Spartan.

Q: Lois Ann Holleyman Ratliff writes, I started watching Heartland last year on Netflix. It is one of the best shows I have ever seen. I just watched ep 18 on UP last night. The story is wonderful but what happened to the dog Lobo.

A: I'm sorry to say that the dog who played Lobo was quite old and he passed away.

Q: Sherry Swanson writes, Well I am from Iowa....I came across Heartland on Netflix and I can't get enough. I am only in season 4 but I always look forward to watching one or two episodes a day. I usually binge watch on the weekends. ;) This show makes me want to move from Iowa, find a cowboy and ride horses on a ranch. A girl can dream right?

A: Dreaming is always something you should never stop doing.

Q: Michelle Hogan asks, Hey BW, my question is about Chris Potter. I've seen him in a lot of movies and he's directed episodes for Heartland. I'm wondering how many episodes has he directed in total and where does he get his creative ideas?

A: If we add in the two episodes Chris is directing this season his total comes to seventeen (count em – 17), which is the third most. Dean Bennett has directed 40 going into season 11, and Grant Harvey – pictured above – will have 19 by the conclusion of season 11. As for where he gets his ideas, Chris is a very seasoned director, and he has a wealth of acting work to draw from. He has worked with dozens of very talented directors. Like all the Heartland directors, Chris does not write the scripts for the episodes, but he is instrumental in making sure the stories are as good as they can be.

A quick sidebar while I tell you about the photo at the top; the only photo accompanying this blog. You can see it at the top of the page. Yeah, that's the one.

In it, season 11 block 1 director Grant Harvey is looking over the shoulder of 'A' Camera Operator Regan Enderl as they frame a shot during blocking. As I mentioned in the second last paragraph, only Dean Bennett, now Heartland's producer, has directed more episodes than Grant.

Okay then - back to your questions. We are nearly done.

Q: Cindy Lou Bollinger asks, Why is "Heartland" not seen on any of the major networks in the USA and only on the "UP" network? I think if more Americans were able to watch this show, "Heartland" would be even more popular than it already is here in the USA and would definitely make way more $$. More importantly than that, you'd be impacting a huge audience of people and (finally!) would be giving us Americans the kind of TV programs we truly want and long to see on TV. Thanks for considering this.

A: Cindy, I answered earlier that there are many networks airing Heartland and those are listed in the essay I posted on our Facebook page on July 4. But as to why there are no major networks playing Heartland, and by major I suppose you mean NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX, it is because these networks produce their own series and do not want to be burdened, creatively or financially, with a partner. A better question might be, “Why do the major networks not make television series like Heartland?” Of course, Heartland’s US sales agent would have approached all the major networks in your country. It isn’t that Heartland was not being offered; it’s just that what was being offered was not of interest. 

Q: Jackie Chiappini asks, I really enjoy this show! I, like many others, also watch from the states, and so we are a little behind. I was wondering about the approval timeline for new seasons. For example, I know that you are filming season 11, but how soon after that do you have to start thinking and planning for the next season, and how that process works. Is there a premise to be submitted for the new season or is it strictly viewers of the show across the networks? Thanks for posting!

A: We’ll end on a good and interesting question. Right now the writers are fleshing out the second half of season 11. Everyone knows what will roughly happen but the actual scripts are nowhere near their first drafts, with the exception of episode 1110, which is about to go into prep.

Heartland will start airing in Canada in late September or early October on the CBC, and future seasons will depend on how well it performs. For the past few years, the viewership has been very good. This year is going to be very exciting – lots of horse stories, Amy riding again and of course – the BABY! So everyone is hoping that the audience returns and grows and that a season 12 gets greenlit.

But sometimes it is not always about the number of people watching. Sometimes there are funding issues. Sometimes people close to a series no longer wish to be associated with it. Personally, I believe there will always be the desire to have this great one-hour family drama going for as long as possible. It will continue to evolve but will always have heartwarming stories the whole family can enjoy.

To get back to your question, a broadcaster has to look at the big picture, which includes not only their hits but all of their programs. Sometimes programs that have few viewers deserve a second chance. CBC has dozens of news, sports, reality and scripted series that are all pieces of a much bigger picture. For that reason, the producers of Heartland are not likely to hear about a new season getting confirmed until around the time when the season finale airs. That is in March or April for Heartland. And series do not get renewed two or more seasons at a time. It’s always one additional season. It’s been that way with Heartland for 10 years now.

Now with Heartland, filming ends during the first week of December, which is right around the time episode 1109 will air. By that time the audience numbers for the first half of the season will be known. It would not be unusual at that time for the executive producers to have the writers go into development so they can come up with, story-wise, what would happen if there was an additional season. They will come up with ideas, storylines, and character arcs. After the producer and executive producers are happy with what could happen in a new season, the broadcaster is then pitched. So when a new season is potentially greenlit in the spring, the broadcaster knows what to expect with the new season they will be airing.

I hope the above helps.

So then – that’s another edition of The Blog Whisperer answers your questions. Next week I will be back with…honestly? I do not have a clue. But fear not; every Thursday I come up with something, and next Thursday will be no exception.

In the meanwhile Canada, it’s SUMMER! Get out and enjoy it to the best of your ability. Play fair, clean and safe and have fun.

And on July 27 I’ll be back. Until then I remain, as always… obediently yours.