Lori Loughlin to Reprise When Calls the Heart Role With Spinoff

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If you had asked me a year ago about whether Lori Loughlin would return to the When Calls the Heart franchise, it would have been a resounding no.

Now, Deadline is reporting that the embattled actress will reprise her Abigail Stanton role on When Hope Calls Season 2, which is moving to a new network.

GAC Family (fka Great American Country Network) is the name of the network.

Lori Loughlin on When Calls the Heart

The forthcoming Season 2 premiere is set for Saturday, December 18, and will double as a Christmas special under the title When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas.

Loughlin was famously scrubbed out of the final episodes of When Calls the Heart Season 6 after her implication in the college admissions scandal.

If you watch When Calls the Heart online, you know Abigail's absence was explained with her leaving town with her adopted son Cody to care for her mother out East.

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The appearance on When Hope Calls Season 2 begins with Abigail bringing a troubled boy to Lilian's orphanage, which in turn leads Abigail to have a chat with someone from her past.

Ominous, right?

Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison for the college admissions scandal and was also ordered to pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

The star is currently on probation, per Deadline.

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She was reported granted permission to travel to Canada for a filming project which was said to be getting kept under wraps initially.

Her daughter, Olivia Jade, is currently a part of the cast of Dancing With the Stars Season 30 and has delivered decent performances throughout her first two weeks on the show.

When Hope Calls has been in limbo since its first season premiere on Hallmark Movies Now as a streaming original.

With no word on the future of the series, many believed it had been canceled, but it will now air as a GAC Family Original.

Olivia Jade and Lori

The news is a shocker, especially given the time since the original debut, but even more surprising is the return of Loughlin to a show set in the universe.

"We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations," Crown Media said in 2019 when it ousted Loughlin.

"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."

The original series recently wrapped its eighth season, and a ninth is in the works for 2022.

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TV Fanatic's Carissa Pavlica has been open about the main series pointing towards a return for Abigail.

Could this be the franchise testing the waters for a more permanent return to the original series?

What are your thoughts on the return?

Hit the comments below.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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When Calls the Heart Quotes

Life is a journey, defined not by the destination but by the company that we keep.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth: I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that Lucas let me go. He just knows me so well. He could sense there was something happening with Nathan.
Rosemary: People come into our lives, some for a reason, others for a season, and some for a lifetime. Jack was a season, and it was glorious. Now it's up to you to decide who might be here for a reason or perhaps even a lifetime. And once you've settled that in your heart, you'll be able to throw yourself into that person's arms with all of your being.