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Hallmark Releases a Shocking Statement About Lori Loughlin's Return to 'When Calls the Heart'

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Let's get this out of the way: Lori Loughlin is not returning to When Calls the Heart

In late September, Deadline reported that the actress was heading back to TV as Abigail Stanton roughly two years after Hallmark cut ties with her for her involvement in the college admissions scandal. Many assumed that her character would head back to Hope Valley to join Elizabeth (Erin Krakow), Lucas (Chris McNally) and the rest of the crew on When Calls the Heart (makes sense!), but, in fact, Lori will reprise her role as Abigail on When Hope Calls, set to return for season 2 on a new network, GAC Family.

The show, which debuted in 2019 on Hallmark's streaming service, is centered on Hope Valley's neighboring town of Brookfield, so it isn't too far-fetched that Abigail is taking a trip down the road. She's simply following Rosemary (Pascale Hutton) and Lee's (Kavan Smith) lead, who made an appearance during the show's first season. 

Photo credit: Eike Schroter
Photo credit: Eike Schroter

Understandably, there has been a lot of confusion about Lori's next move, leading Hallmark to comment on where their relationship stands today in a statement shared by Showbiz Cheat Sheet: "Hallmark Channel has not cast Lori Loughlin in any current projects, including When Calls the Heart, nor do we have any plans to cast her in the future. She was cast by GAC Family, a wholly separate cable network not affiliated with Hallmark Channel or Crown Media Family Networks."

That's right, Hallmark Channel isn't working with Lori now — or ever (or so they say). This may come as a surprise to many, given that Brian Bird, creator of When Calls the Heart, has been very open about his desire to bring Lori back to Hope Valley. When Lori started her two-month prison sentence last year, he responded to a fan eager for Lori's return. "Amen, brother. From your lips to God’s ears," Brian responded.

Even the When Calls the Heart cast has voiced their support for their friend and co-star throughout the years. Erin Krakow often gushes about her "forever friend," telling Good Housekeeping in April that she "would be so happy to see her back in Hope Valley sooner than later." While Erin's dreams didn't exactly come true, it's clear that she's thrilled to see her friend back on the silver screen. Shortly after it was announced that Lori would be returning to TV, she shared a sweet snap on Instagram.

And if we're lucky, Elizabeth will stop by Brookfield for a quick visit, especially since Deadline reports that her late husband Jack (Daniel Lissing) is set to appear in the premiere episode. 

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