Lori Loughlin’s Hallmark Channel show will return without her after “a creative hiatus” and “retooling” to remove the actress following her indictment in a vast college admissions bribery scandal, the network said Wednesday.
Loughlin, best known for playing Aunt Becky on “Full House,” had been a popular fixture on the Hallmark Channel. In March, the family-friendly network quickly cut ties with her and put her current show, “When Calls The Heart,” on hiatus after Loughlin and dozens of other wealthy, high-powered parents were charged in a scheme to bribe their children’s way into elite universities by falsifying test scores and athletic recruiting credentials.
“When Calls The Heart” will now resume with two new episodes airing May 5 and May 6, and four more on the subsequent Sundays, the network said.
“Life throws all of us painful curveballs, and the only way to survive is to walk right through them with courage, grace, a forgiving spirit, and most of all, hope,” executive producer Brian Bird wrote on Instagram. “Many of you have wondered what the future holds for our cast and crew, and for the citizens of Hope Valley. Your care and concern means the world to us, and the best way we can thank you is to encourage you the way you encourage us because… Hope always lives here.”
Bird insisted to fans after Loughlin’s indictment that the show “has not been canceled,” but announced “a creative hiatus to do some retooling on the remaining Season 6 episodes.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, the show’s producers removed Loughlin from the remaining episodes using “highly creative editing” and minor reshooting of some scenes. It’s unclear how the show will address the absence of Loughlin’s character.
Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were charged with paying $500,000 to bribe the University of Southern California to admit their two daughters by falsely portraying them as recruits for the crew team. Prosecutors on Tuesday announced additional fraud and money laundering charges against Loughlin, Giannulli and 14 other parents. They face prison time if convicted.
Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty this week in the scheme and issued an apology. Netflix said it would delay Huffman’s upcoming film “Otherhood” until Aug. 2 from its original premiere date of April 26.