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Lori Loughlin is making headlines recently for reasons that have nothing to do with her performances on the small screen. The regular Hallmark Channel contributor (and Fuller House actress) was indicted as part of a scandal involving college admissions bribery. Now, she is facing professional repercussions for her connection to the scandal. Hallmark has dropped Loughlin from its slate of programming.
The move is actually a pretty big deal, as Lori Loughlin isn't just one of Hallmark's frequent flyers who appears in a Christmas movie or two every year. On top of her appearances in several of those holiday movies, Loughlin stars in the still-popular When Calls the Heart as well as the Garage Sale Mystery TV movie series. Hallmark will be a different place without her on board.
Hallmark's parent company Crown Media released a statement regarding the drop of Lori Loughlin (via THR) saying this:
We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations. We are no longer working with Lori Loughlin and have stopped development of all productions that air on the Crown Media Family Network channels involving Lori Loughlin, including Garage Sale Mysteries, an independent third party production.
It may be simple enough to end Lori Loughlin's involvement in Hallmark Christmas movies and the Garage Sale Mystery series, as the network can simply not cast her and/or axe the projects that would have featured her. When Calls the Heart may not be quite so simple.
When Calls the Heart has featured Lori Loughlin from the very beginning, and the series is still going strong in Season 6 with impressive ratings and a spinoff on the way. Although she's an important part of the cast, Loughlin hasn't been the main character, so the show won't need to end or turn itself entirely upside down to continue without her. Still, it sounds like Hallmark is immediately cutting Loughlin, so her character's departure from When Calls the Heart will likely be explained away and happen off-screen.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time this midseason than an actor's off-screen actions potentially changed the course of their TV projects. The Jussie Smollett situation over on Fox has not yet been resolved. Lori Loughlin being dropped from Hallmark comes after she received permission to travel to Vancouver as part of her release following a $1 million bond. Both When Calls the Heart and the Garage Sale Mystery movies film in Vancouver.
Now, Lori Loughlin apparently won't need the special dispensation that would have permitted her to travel out of the country for work. News of the scandal that would cost her jobs on Hallmark broke on March 12, with reports surfacing that Lori Loughlin (along with her husband, actress Felicity Huffman, and many others) allegedly bribed college officials and faked standardized test scores to get kids into elite universities, including Yale, Stanford, and USC.
Lori Loughlin and her husband allegedly payed $500,000 to USC so that their daughters would gain admission as recruits for the university's crew team. Neither daughter was a rower, although they did pose for photos on rowing machines to help sell the story.
Only time will tell what's in store for Lori Loughlin next and whether she'll still be featured in what remains of Fuller House. The Fuller House cast has largely avoided commenting on her arrest, and the show is almost done. Besides, it's not like Aunt Becky is at the forefront of all the action. Might Loughlin still have a role? We'll have to wait and see.
New episodes of When Calls the Heart -- which may or may not feature Lori Loughlin from episodes filmed before the scandal broke -- air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Hallmark. On the Fuller House front, the first four seasons are available streaming on Netflix, with the fifth set to debut in the fall.