SECRET WORLD OF MICHAEL LANDON, JR

Published on: January 27, 2014
Photography by: Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
 SECRET WORLD OF MICHAEL LANDON, JR

Insider -- devoted son’s new TV show is just like pop's “LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE!”

THIS one’s for you, Dad!” That’s the deeply moving sentiment that guided Michael Landon Jr. as he set out to create the Hallmark Channel’s new family series “When Calls the Heart.”

The 49-year-old producer wanted to make his late dad proud, so he crafted a show that would be a lot like Michael Sr.’s iconic series “Little House on the Prairie.”

“I know my dad must be smiling somewhere in heaven,” Michael Jr. told a pal.

His father, who died of pancreatic cancer in 1991, starred as Pa Ingalls in the acclaimed western drama that ran from 1974 to 1983 and revolved around a family living on a Minnesota farm in the late 1800s.

“When Calls the Heart” is also a wholesome, inspiring drama, based on Janette Oke’s 1983 novel about a young woman working at a small schoolhouse in the Canadian Rockies.

“The show is like a love letter to his deceased dad and ‘Little House on the Prairie,’” said a close source.

In 2003, the budding filmmaker did a movie for Hallmark based on Oke’s popular “Love Comes Softly” series. It was a smash hit, and now network execs are hoping he has another one with his new series. “When Calls the Heart” tells the story of Elizabeth Thatcher, a young teacher accustomed to high society life, who receives her first classroom job in a small coal-mining town.

Said proud producer Landon: “We’re all living in very challenging, cynical times, and we believe the audience is ready for a family series (set to air on Saturday nights) about a very special community pulling together to overcome their hardships.”