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Lori Loughlin is set to make her return to TV, reprising her role as Abigail Stanton, a widower and cafe owner turned mayor, in the latest season of the GAC Family series When Hope Calls.
Loughlin is set to guest-star in the second season, which will debut on the GAC Family network on Dec. 18. The network’s current president and CEO is Bill Abbott, the former CEO of Hallmark Channel parent company Crown Media Family Networks. Following 11 years in the role, Abbott stepped down in January 2020, a month after the network was criticized for its decision to pull online wedding retailer Zola’s ad featuring a lesbian couple’s wedding.
GAC Family rebranded on Sept. 27 from Great American Country, expanding its initial focus as a country music channel to broader lifestyle programming, which now includes family-friendly, holiday-themed movies and series celebrating American culture and heritage.
According to the season two premiere episode description, Loughlin will return as Abigail after arriving in a stagecoach with her son, Cody, and a troubled boy headed to the local orphanage. During the episode, entitled “When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, Part 1,” Abigail will have “a profound conversation with a dear friend from the past.”
When Hope Calls follows orphaned sisters Lillian and Grace, who were originally introduced in When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing, who reunite in 1916 as adults and open up an orphanage in the small western Canadian town of Brookfield. The series’ first season debuted on the streamer Hallmark Movies Now before airing on the Hallmark Channel.
Loughlin last’s onscreen role was in When Calls the Heart‘s sixth season. The actress was let go due to her involvement in the college admissions scandal, with her character sent off to care for a sick family member.
The former Full House star was released in December 2020 from the all-women Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, after serving almost two months for her part in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. In May 2020, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty to initial charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud before being later charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.
By August 2020, the judge in Loughlin’s case had accepted her plea deal, with the actress set to serve two months in prison, pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.
The duo was accused in 2019 of paying Rick Singer, who headed up the notorious nationwide admissions scheme, $500,000 in bribes to help get their daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Giannulli, into the University of Southern California.
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