The bad news just keeps on raining down on actress Lori Loughlin, who has spent the week under much scrutiny following her arrest in connection with the ongoing college admissions fraud scheme. Her future at Hallmark was completely shut down in the aftermath, and now it's being reported that Netflix's Fuller House, the actress' other career arc, isn't expected to bring Loughlin back to reprise Aunt Becky for the sitcom's fifth and final season.
At the time of this writing, no official proclamations about Lori Loughlin's Fuller House presence have been made by either Netflix or the comedy's showrunners, Steve Baldikoski and Bryan Behar. However, TMZ reported that their production source confirmed that while Loughlin was a regular guest star on the first four seasons of Fuller House, there are no plans to have her return for Season 5. Which, for all intents and purposes, basically means that viewers have already seen the last of Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis.
Note that production has not yet begun on Fuller House Season 5, which was renewed by Netflix back in January. That was also when it was announced that the spinoff sitcom would be finalizing its popular run on the streaming service. So even though nothing about these circumstances is great for anyone involved, at least this wasn't a situation where all of Lori Loughlin's scenes had already been shot and then needed to get craftily edited out ahead of the episodes' eventual airing.
Season 5 is scheduled to go into production at some point this spring, so it's fairly feasible to assume that the two showrunners haven't completely finalized all the episodes' scripts. So all options would be on the table for how they would want to address Aunt Becky's absence, assuming they would want to bring it up at all.
Fuller House has often thrown some light-hearted shade at former Full House stars Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, since both of them have declined to return to reprise the role of Michelle Tanner in any capacity. Since it has been the twins' choice to stay away, it's always felt perfectly fine enough for Michelle to keep getting brought up. However, since Lori Loughlin's situation is of a criminal nature, that makes it all the more ill-advised to make any pithy references to Aunt Becky's absence.
Lori Loughlin was arrested earlier this week and charged in connection with the college admissions scandal that was spearheaded by William Singer. The actress allegedly (with her husband) paid $500,000 to a "foundation" to make it look like her daughters were members of the USC women's rowing team, despite them not actually being involved with the sport. She surrendered to authorities on Wednesday, and was released on a $1 million bond.
The decision to remove Lori Loughlin from Fuller House, though still unofficial, came hours after Hallmark Channel publicly announced that all of the actress' current productions were being shut down, including her Garage Sale Mysteries series of TV movies. Parent company Crown Media confirmed that all contracts with Loughlin were severed.
A few hours after making that initial announcement, Hallmark then revealed that the upcoming episode of the hit drama When Calls the Heart is being pulled from the schedule, saying that "all creative options" were being evaluated before making the next move. It's presumed that the producers are considering ways to edit Lori Loughlin's lead character Abigail Stanton out of that and future episodes.
There's next to no chance that When Calls the Heart will be cancelled, though, considering how much of a hit it has been for Hallmark – especially during this TV midseason. Of course, Loughlin had quite a bit to do with that popularity as one of Hallmark's most recognizable stars. As such, it will be interesting to see if the show's impressive Season 6 ratings will be impacted by Loughlin's legal troubles.
Though it's currently in a state of delay, When Calls the Heart can usually be found airing on Hallmark Channel on Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET.