Hallmark Channel may have cut ties with Lori Loughlin but they aren’t giving up on “When Calls the Heart.”
According to the show’s producers, the Western drama has not been canceled but is undergoing “retooling” after Loughlin — a series regular — was fired by Hallmark Channel last week following her arrest in the ongoing college admissions bribery scandal.
“#Hearties, thank you for your love, support and patience these last several days as we have been preoccupied with the news about Lori Loughlin and her family, and the decisions our colleagues at the Hallmark Channel USA needed to make,” read a “producers’ statement” from Brian Bird and the show’s other executive producers that was posted to the show’s official Instagram page on Sunday. “As you can imagine, everyone involved with ‘When Calls the Heart’ was surprised by these developments, so we hope you can forgive us for initially staying silent while we sorted through how to respond.”
“As for the show itself, we know millions of fans are on pins and needles wondering what will happen now. Let us reassure you, ‘When Calls the Heart’ has always been bigger than the sum of its parts, and it has not been canceled. With the full support of the network, we have gone on a creative hiatus to do some retooling on the remaining Season 6 episodes. That process has already begun. Hope Valley will return to your TV screens as soon as we can bring the episodes to you.”
“On behalf of our entire producing team, including Michael Landon Jr., Brad Krevoy and Alfonso Moreno, I want to thank you for continuing to show your support. Your private messages of support and your #Hearties4S6 worldwide trending on Thursday brought a lot of tears to the eyes of our cast and crew and to the good folks at Hallmark Channel. Your love for ‘When Calls the Heart’ is the courage we count on as we work through this challenging transition and your Hearties community will always be the most important legacy of this TV series. We love you!”
Hallmark Channel announced it had decided to part ways with Loughlin last Thursday, one day after her arrest in connection with the college admissions scam.
“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, was pulled from the schedule.
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 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 last 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.
See the producers’ message to fans below.