Hallmark’s When Calls The Heart Co-Creator On Whether Lori Loughlin Could Return To The Show In The Aftermath Of College Admissions Scandal

 Lori Loughlin on When Calls the Heart before Hallmark exit.
Lori Loughlin on When Calls the Heart before Hallmark exit.

Fans of Hallmark's When Calls the Heart were recently treated to the Season 10 finale, which saw the end of Elizabeth and Lucas’ relationship. Hopefully, they won't have to wait too long for more new episodes, as the series was able to film Season 11 amidst the strikes because of an Interim Agreement with SAG-AFTRA. There's still much to look forward to from the romance drama, but one of the lingering unknowns is the potential involvement of past cast member Lori Loughlin. After the college admissions scandal, one might be wondering if she could ever return, and the series' co-creator shared thoughts on that.

The Full House alum portrayed Abigail Stanton on the Hallmark series for its first six seasons. She exited in 2020 after having played a role in the admissions controversy, which saw dozens of people charged with bribery, wire fraud and more. However, the star returned for spinoff When Hope Calls in 2021, appearing in two episodes. Now that it’s been a few years, could fans see Abigail return? Co-creator Brian Bird teased on the Heart to Hearties podcast that it’s not out of the realm of possibility:

This is a tricky question, and what I can say is that there are good conversations happening. We can’t guarantee anything, but there are good conversations happening around this topic.

So it sounds like if anything is actually in the works, the producers are in the early stages when it comes to having discussions. That's, at the very least, a somewhat positive sign for anyone who's been hoping to see Abigail again. It should also be mentioned that Hallmark has been slowly moving Lori Loughlin back in its projects, though she has also joined rival GAC. That latter point could create scheduling hurdles if something is really to happen. Even so, three years after the scandal, which she served two months in prison for, the actress seems to be doing well and shifting back into her career. Brian Bird spoke to Loughlin's current status with these sentiments:

She's doing really good. She's assured us that she’s found some peace and she’s made it through her ordeal -- her husband’s ordeal -- and she’s in a much better place than she was. Our attitude always has been, as the producing team around the writing team around When Calls the Heart, that what better place for second chances than Hope Valley? So in theory, it should work, right? But again, [we] can’t fully promise it, but we’re working on it.

For the time being, fans will want to be cautiously optimistic about the actress' future with the show, but it's hard not to get a little excited over this update. If Lori Loughlin does return, there’s no telling in what capacity it would be. She could make a cameo or could even have an arc that lasts a few episodes. Or perhaps she could recur on the show before becoming a series regular again. That's all purely speculation at this point, though.

The actress experience a number of setbacks connected to the college admissions scandal. For example, she was cut from the final season of Fuller House because of it. Ultimately, in 2022, she made her first post-scandal TV appearance, appearing at a telethon for a Los Angeles-based food pantry and charity. Last year, she was also part of GAC’s Christmas movie lineup alongside Full House co-stars Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber. While her career prospects are seemingly looking up, we'll just have to wait and see if she returns to When Calls the Heart.

Season 11 of When Calls the Heart has no set premiere date as of right now, and fans are surely eager to see what lies ahead for the residents of Hope Valley. In the meantime, however, be sure to take a look at the 2023 TV schedule for other viewing options. And with the holiday season on the horizon, be sure to check out Hallmark’s upcoming movie lineup to get informed on flicks that will surely get you into the Christmas spirit.