Hallmark Channel has cut ties with “When Calls the Heart” star Lori Loughlin amid the ongoing college admissions bribery scandal, the network announced on Thursday.
“We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations,” Hallmark parent company Crown Media said in a statement. “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.”
Additionally, Sunday’s episode of “When Calls the Heart,” on which Loughlin is a series regular, has been pulled from the schedule. Though the show has not been canceled, the network said it was “evaluating all creative options related to” the actress’s participation in the series.
Loughlin has been a fixture on Hallmark in recent years, toplining a number of its original films, including the “Garage Sale Mysteries” film series.
The network had previously said it would take a wait-and-see approach with regards to Loughlin when the actress and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were first identified by the FBI on Tuesday as two of the parents who are accused of buying into a bribery scheme in order to help place their kids into top-tier universities.
The “Fuller House” star surrendered herself to authorities on Wednesday and appeared before a federal judge in Los Angeles. She was released on $1 million bail. Her next court date is March 29 in Boston.
Loughlin had been ordered to surrender her passport but was given leeway to travel within the continental U.S. and British Columbia for work due to her obligations on “When Calls the Heart,” which films in Canada, and other projects.
Loughlin, along with 46 others including actress Felicity Huffman, were charged with paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into top universities like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC, according to charging documents. During a press conference in Boston on Tuesday, Andrew Lelling, U.S. District Attorney for Massachusetts, said this was the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” totaling $25 million in bribes.
The official charges for both actresses were “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.” If convicted, they could each face up to five years in prison. Huffman made her initial court appearance on Tuesday and was released on $250,000 bond. Huffman’s next court date is also March 29 in Boston.
According to the charging documents, Loughlin and Giannulli “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”