Lori Loughlin has officially signed on to reprise her role of Abigail Stanton on the second season of When Hope Calls, marking her first acting gig after completing her prison sentence for the college admissions scandal. 

The When Calls the Heart spinoff will premiere on December 18, Us Weekly confirmed on Tuesday, September 28, bringing back Loughlin, 57, who starred on the original Hallmark Channel series for six seasons between 2014 and 2019. 

Lori Loughlin Written Out When Calls the Heart

Loughlin’s character was previously written off When Calls the Heart after she was charged for her involvement in the bribery scheme back in March 2019. As a result, viewers saw Abigail’s exit from the show to go take care of her “ill” mother who lived “back East.” 

“We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations,” Crown Media Family Networks said in a statement to Us Weekly at the time. “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.” 

The former Full House actress and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, got into legal trouble for paying $500,000 in an effort to have their two daughters, Olivia Jade, 22, and Isabella, 23, accepted into the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team, although they never participated in the sport. 

Giannulli, 58, and Loughlin ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges against themselves in May 2020. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton sentenced the fashion designer to five months behind bars for his involvement in the nationwide scandal, while Loughlin was given a two-month sentence.

In Touch was the first to break news of Giannulli’s release from prison in April 2021. Loughlin, for her part, had already completed her time behind bars by then and was freed to go home in December 2020.

Lori Loughlin Returning to Acting
Rob Latour/Shutterstock

Despite her checkered past, executive producer Brian Bird hinted at Loughlin’s return to the small screen in a tweet he shared in September 2020, writing, “Hope Valley is a place of second chances. We believe that. Not just for stories but for real life too. Everybody deserves second chances.”

It appears Loughlin is eager to start fresh and get back to her passion for acting. That was her “end goal,” an insider previously told In Touch. “Lori is ready to return to the spotlight.”

Loughlin and Giannulli’s daughter Olivia recently made headlines for her own comeback with news that she joined season 30 of Dancing With the Stars.

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