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Lori Loughlin’s Exit From Hallmark’s ‘When Comes the Heart’ Was Handled Just Right (Guest Blog)

”I wondered if they were going to kidnap, kill or make Abigail disappear. Hallmark did not disappoint,“ Aviva Kempner writes

Actress Lori Loughlin’s troubles are not only with the law — she also faced a serious career crisis as soon as the college admissions scandal hit the news. The wholesome Hallmark Channel did not blink an eye before postponing episodes of “When Calls the Heart,” in which Loughlin starred as Abigail Stanton, the compassionate mayor of a frontier town in the Canadian West.

I’m a fan of this show because it is dominated by decent pioneering characters, especially women like Mayor Abigail, and compelling storylines. I was concerned that the show itself, with the model female political figure, might be canceled. I worried for the all those actors and crew losing their jobs because of overanxious parents cheating the system to their poor child’s advantage and eventual total embarrassment.

I can see how a cheating parent in real life did not fit into Hallmark’s corporate image of Loughlin being the mayor of a frontier town coping with issues of growth and welcoming strangers. Ironically, on the air her character also ran a restaurant, nurtured her son and other orphan kids while wisely solving the town’s problems. Too bad that it seems she might not have applied her script lines to real life. (Loughlin and her husband have pleaded not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.)

Hallmark, famous for its escapist and delightful love stories with storybook couple-kissing endings, solved the casting hot potato the wisest way this week. The network aired two newly written and filmed shows. One can only imagine how many shows were pitched out the scandal window.

Happy to see “When Calls the Heart” back on the air, I wondered if they were going to kidnap, kill or make Abigail disappear. Hallmark did not disappoint.

From the opening scene, the mystery was solved. A letter’s contents were read out loud stating how Abigail has left town to care for a sick mother. Clearly a conscious corporate effort to cure parental cheating.

Kudos to Hallmark for making the personal drama fit into their values. The only problem was that a disappointing plotline showed how life imitates art — Abigail’s restaurant is now being run by a man who by the second show moved quickly up the political ladder to be appointed a judge.

Please, Hallmark, cast another actress to fill the loving politician shoes so we can still have a modern-day role model that reflects the important positions women held over 100 years ago.


Aviva Kempner is the co-director with Ben West (Cheyenne) of "Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting" documentary. Jessie Atkin is the communications coordinator for the documentary.