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/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

Jack Wagner, who starred alongside Lori Loughlin on the Hallmark Channel drama “When Calls the Heart” said the actress’s dismissal from the series was like “the five stages of grief.”

"I can't describe it any better than that," Wagner told “Entertainment Tonight.” "When you lose something or someone, I would describe it that way."

“When Calls the Heart” abruptly went on hiatus in the middle of its sixth season in March after news broke that Loughlin, 54, and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among dozens of parents charged in the highly publicized college admissions scam.

Specifically, Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of handing out $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California. They have pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Jack Wagner Lori Loughlin on the set of "When Calls the Heart" in 2014 in Vancouver, Canada.Andrew Chin / Getty Images

Loughlin, 54, was subsequently dropped by the show and the Hallmark Channel severed its longtime relationship with her, although it elected not to pull the plug on "When Calls the Heart," which scrambled to remove her from scenes she had shot, reports Entertainment Weekly.

Despite all the tumult, Wagner, best known for his work on "Melrose Place," is delighted “When Calls the Heart” will resume.

Jack Wagner and Lori Loughlin attend the premiere of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries' "Garage Sale Mystery" on August 1, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.David Livingston / Getty Images

"I'm really happy the show is coming back," he said. "I think it's a testament to the show itself, that it's on its feet again and it's survived quite a few different things in the six years and now going into seven years, so I'm really proud to be a part of it. It's really found a place in my heart. Just being in that pioneer town as an actor is just a really special feeling."

The actor, 59, also credited his co-stars for soldiering on in the face of adversity.

"... It really was a real group effort of feeling like we had to feel our feelings and then we had to move past that and that's what we've done," he said. "We hit our marks, gave the best performances we could, which is what we've always done... what we're technically hired to do, and so that's kind of the attitude."

Questions remain about how Loughiln will be written out of the series and Wagner would not offer any insight into what viewers can expect.

"When a show ... loses a character or something that is just such a key component to the show ... you really have to kind of regroup and restructure," he said. "... Ultimately it's about how you're going to write the show and what the attitude is going to be amongst the actors as professionals, so that's been tested again and we all showed up, we hit our marks, and we're trying to do our best."

You can see for yourself what the new look of “When Calls the Heart” is all about when it returns this Sunday.