Lori Loughlin Set to Make Acting Return, Will Reprise Her 'When Calls the Heart' Character

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Lori Loughlin is getting back to her career after her involvement in the college admissions scandal. The 57-year-old actress is set to guest star on season 2 of GAC Family's When Hope Calls, reprising the role of her When Calls the Heart character, Abigail Stanton.

The two-part premiere, titled When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, debuts Saturday, Dec. 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Loughlin was last seen on TV as Abigail in season 6 of Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart before the network cut ties with her in March 2019.

In a statement to ET, the Hallmark Channel said they were not working with Loughlin.

"Hallmark Channel has not cast Lori Loughlin in any current projects, including When Calls the Heart, nor do we have any plans to cast her in the future," the statement reads. "She was cast by GAC Family, a wholly separate cable network not affiliated with Hallmark Channel or Crown Media Family Networks." 

Last August, a judge accepted Loughlin's plea deal for her part in the college admissions scandal, which stipulated that she serve two months in prison, be under two years of supervised release, pay a fine of $150,000 and complete 100 hours of community service. She began her sentence last October and was released less than two months later.

A source told ET in March that Loughlin was ready to move forward and was "excited to work again."
 
"Lori's been offered many opportunities to open up about what she has been through, but she can't seem to find the right words," the source said. "She fears no matter what she says, people can't get past this. At this point, she just wants to move forward and focus on the positive."

In May, Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were granted permission by a federal judge to vacation in Mexico. The trip marked the first time either Loughlin or Giannulli had left the country since being released from prison. 

Meanwhile, When Hope Calls is set in Brookfield, a town on the western prairie, and is a TV spinoff of award-winning author Janette Oke's novel series, When Calls the Heart. According to a press release, When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, Part 1, revolves around a Christmas festival happening in Brookfield as the community is one of three contenders in Harper's Bazaar's search for America’s #1 Country Christmas Town. The entire town is preoccupied with creating the essence of Christmas for the photojournalist’s lens, though, behind the scenes, residents are not living the spirit of the season. Abigail and her son, Cody, then appear, bringing a troubled boy to Lillian's orphanage. 

When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, Part 2, revolves around photojournalist Paul Franklin, who's wrapping his research on the community of Brookfield as a contender for America’s #1 Country Christmas Town. Lillian, the orphans, and Gabriel are running out of options to restore the troubled boy's hope for better times. Just when all seems lost, a secret Santa appears to fulfill all holiday wishes, and Abigail has a profound conversation with a dear friend from the past. Meanwhile, Paul's lens is recording every miraculous moment. 

Loughlin's youngest daughter, 22-year-old Olivia Jade, is currently competing on season 30 of Dancing With the Stars. ET recently spoke with her and she said her parents were proud of her.

"My parents are really stoked for me," she said. "I think they are excited for me. I am so nervous."

When asked if there could be a chance to one day see her mom compete on DWTS, she said it was unlikely.

"I don't know if my mom is a big dancer," she explained. "I don't know if we can get her out on the dance floor. But she is a fun dancer and she has got a good attitude when I have seen her dance, which has been basically in our kitchen. I don't know if she will come on it, but I hope that they tune into my season."

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