- The Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” series returned on Sunday and had to explain why actress Lori Loughlin’s character, Abigail Stanton, was no longer a part of the show.
- The show opened with a narrator saying Abigail Stanton had gone to take care of her mother on the east coast.
- Hallmark cut ties with Loughlin in March after she was indicted in the college admissions scandal. The network announced in April that it would edit her out of already filmed episodes of “When calls the Heart.”
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The Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” returned on Sunday without actress Lori Loughlin – and the series wrote her out of the show by saying her character had to take care of her sick mother.
It was the first episode of the drama series to air since Loughlin pleaded not guilty in the college admissions scandal in April. She had been in almost every episode of the six-season series before being edited out.
The episode opened with a narration about Loughlin’s character, Abigail Stanton, and why she would no longer be part of the show.
The narration said, according to PEOPLE: “We never know how life will turn. It’s been a week since Abigail got word that her mother had taken ill back east. True to her nature, Abigail wasted no time in rushing off to care for her. Abigail is much more than a friend, she’s family. I will miss her and Cody deeply, we all will, but we must get by as best we can. … We all keep Abigail and her family in our prayers in her absence and wish her godspeed. In her absence we must soldier on and we will. We are a community, we are strong, we are Hope Valley.”
Loughlin had played Stanton on the show from 2014 until this year.
The network cut ties with her in March and announced in April that it would edit her out of already filmed episodes of “When calls the Heart.”
Producers told Entertainment Weekly last month that they used “highly creative editing” and reshooting to remove Loughlin from the show, which tells the story of a young woman named Elizabeth Thatcher, who is befriends Stanton in the small town of Coal Valley in the 1920s.
Netflix, too, cut ties with Loughlin, saying she would not be returning to her role as Aunt Becky on “Fuller House.”
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering in the college admissions scandal.
They face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
- Read more about the college admissions scandal:
- A student caught up in the college admissions scandal once said she was accepted because of ‘hard work,’ not rich parents
- A Yale women’s soccer player says behind the college admissions scandal is a decade of abuses of power and sexist behaviour in the program
- Prosecutors say even more people could be charged in the college admissions scandal, and parents are scared
- The ringleader of the college admissions scandal is spending his days at a pool club in Florida as he awaits sentencing in the scheme
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