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Lori Loughlin to Mark Acting Return on ‘When Calls the Heart’ Spinoff After College Admissions Scandal

As daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli takes on the ballroom, Lori Loughlin is returning to her Hope Valley roots. The Full House alum secured her first post-college admissions scandal role in the upcoming season 2 premiere of When Hope Calls.

Related: Most Controversial ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Contestants

The 57-year-old actress will reprise her role as When Calls the Heart’s Abigail Stanton in When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, set to premiere on December 18, Us Weekly can confirm. The spinoff of the Hallmark Channel series will air season 2 on GAC Family.

Lori Loughlin Books 1st Gig After College Admissions Scandal
Lori Loughlin in ‘When Calls the Heart: New Years Wish.’ Eike Schroter/Crown Media LLC

Loughlin was previously written off When Calls the Heart after she was indicted in the nationwide college admissions scandal in March 2019. The former Summerland star and husband Mossimo Giannulli, who were accused of paying bribes to ensure daughters Bella Giannulli and Olivia, 22, would be admitted into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, served two-month and five-month stints in jail, respectively.

Related: Will Lori Loughlin’s Abigail Ever Return to ‘When Calls the Heart’?

“We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations,” Crown Media Family Networks said in a statement to Us Weekly after news of the scandal broke. “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.”

That May, fans learned Abigail left the town to care for her “ill” mother “back East.” Loughlin appeared on the first six seasons of When Calls the Heart, which was renewed for season 9 earlier this year. Executive producer Brian Bird has been candid about how difficult it was to write off Loughlin, noting he was open to the possibility of her return.

“Hope Valley is a place of second chances. We believe that. Not just for stories but for real life too. Everybody deserves second chances,” he tweeted in September 2020.

Related: Two Years After the College Admissions Scandal: Where Are They Now?

After Loughlin reported to prison that October, a viewer tweeted at Bird, “Hoping Christmas may bring an announcement of her return to Hope Valley!” to which the cocreator replied, “Amen, brother. From your lips to God’s ears.”

Lori Loughlin Books 1st Gig After College Admissions Scandal
Ricardo Hubbs/Crown Media LLC

According to reports, Loughlin was previously granted permission by a Boston federal judge to go to Canada in late September for “a filming production project.”

Fans are also anticipating the 90210 alum to support daughter Olivia with a trip to the Dancing With the Stars studio as the YouTuber appears on season 30.

“My mom’s been a huge support,” the influencer told reporters before the September premiere. “She’s in total mom mode, like, ‘Make sure you take an Epsom salt bath.’ She’s trying to get me to take an ice bath! I’m like, ‘I don’t need an ice bath yet!’ My sister has been telling me she wants to come to every single show.”

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