The college admissions scandal upended the world of actress Lori Loughlin, who had been a beloved part of Full House and it's Netflix revival, along with having a leading role on the long-running Hallmark series, When Calls the Heart. It wasn't long after news of the scandal broke, though, that Loughlin was written out of both Fuller House and the Hallmark drama, but now she's returning to the When Calls the Heart franchise so that she can reprise her role on the spinoff, When Hope Calls.
It was announced today that Lori Loughlin is coming back to play Abigail Stanton in the Season 2, two-part premiere of the series, titled When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, and that it will debut exclusively on a new network, GAC Family, on December 18. Fans will likely remember that Season 6 of When Calls the Heart was paused with an eye toward figuring out how to believably write Loughlin's character and her son, Cody, out of the story.
When the show returned for the latter half of the season in early May 2019, a voiceover in the first scene (from lead character Elizabeth Thornton) revealed that the coal mine widow and her young child had left Hope Valley to help take care of her mother back east, who'd recently fallen ill. While the narration noted that it was unlikely that viewers would see Abigail and Cody around town again any time soon, there was also some clear wiggle room given, if not for the fact that she was healthy when we last saw her, and it wasn't assumed that any major misadventure would befall the character while she was away.
Now, I'm sure many Hearties will be glad to hear that Lori Loughin is bringing her popular character back to the franchise on When Hope Calls. The spinoff is set in a western prairie town, Brookfield, that's noted for its "deep sense of acceptance, love, and family." In part one of the premiere, the town is attempting to win a Harper's Bazaar competition that will have the magazine name America's #1 Country Christmas Town. The inhabitants are in a flurry of activity as they try to win, but their spirit for the season is lacking, then, according to the official synopsis:
Loughlin will also be a part of the second episode of the premiere, which will see Abigail engage in "a profound conversation with a dear friend from the past."
The actress entered a plea deal for her part in the college admissions scandal in May of 2020, and it was toward the end of August in the same year that she was sentenced to a two-month stay in a federal prison, a fine of $150,000, and serving 150 hours of community service. Loughlin has been on probation since being released in December 2020, but there was some speculation that she'd be returning to work in some capacity when a report from this September 14 (via Deadline) noted that a federal judge in Boston had granted her permission to head to Canada for about a week, roughly in late September through early October, to participate in “a filming production project.”
It appears that reprising her part as Abigail Stanton was the reason for Lori Loughlin's travel to Canada. There's no word right now on whether or not her time on the show will be extended, but fans will be able to watch her return as When Hope Calls airs on GAC Family, December 18, at 8 p.m. EST.
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Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.