Sam Haskell (‘The Waltons: Homecoming’ showrunner) on the return of a childhood favorite series and what is next for the Waltons family [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I loved ‘The Waltons’ as a kid, and every time on Thursday that we heard the music, we all rushed to the living room to sit down in front of the television,” reveals Sam Haskell. He returned to the nostalgia of his childhood favorite series to produce the popular TV movie “The Waltons: Homecoming,” which aired this past November on The CW Network. In our recent webchat he adds, “Two and a half years ago, we started working on the rights, going to the family. Earl Hamner‘s wife Jane is now in her 90s, and they have all these attorneys around them protecting it. I spoke to everyone single one of them.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

The two-hour film aired during the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday and featured Emmy-winning actor Richard Thomas, who played John-Boy in the original CBS TV series that premiered in 1972 for nine seasons and launched six more reunion movies. Thomas took over the narrating duties that were originally done by the late Hamner, who based the film and series on his autobiographical book, “Spencer’s Mountain.”

The new revision also starred Bellamy Young (in the same motherly role of Olivia that won Michael Learned three Emmys), Logan Shroyer (as John-Boy), Ben Lawson and Marcelle LeBlanc. It was a celebration of the 50th anniversary for the original holiday film titled “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,” which originally aired on December 19, 1971, and then for many holiday seasons after that.

Ratings were excellent for the project, and Warner Bros. has given the greenlight for a second telefilm (“The Waltons: Thanksgiving”) which begins shooting this week in Georgia. The executive producer and showrunner says, “We hope this franchise can continue so that they see it should be on every week. That is my goal. I really believe it and the possibility of it. I’ve done a lot of work… but I’ve never gotten such a response from anything I’ve ever done.”

Haskell has competed in this same category of Best TV Movie three times already for his work producing Dolly Parton films. Parton, Haskell and the other producers won the category just this past September for “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” streaming on Netflix. He tells the funny story of how choreographer and producer Debbie Allen almost didn’t make it to the Creative Arts ceremony in time and how he got to call Parton immediately after the victory to tell her the good news.

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