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The Hallmark Channel is getting ready for life without Lori Loughlin.
“When Calls the Heart” will return with new episodes on May 5 and May 6. They will be the first since the TV network announced it was cutting ties with the actress, and since the show's executive producer, Brian Bird, said it was “retooling.”
Bird released a statement on Instagram Wednesday, announcing the series’ return, although he made no mention of Loughlin, who is facing a new charge of money laundering in connection with the college admissions scandal that has made national headlines.
“#Hearties, thanks for sticking with us through this challenging time,” he wrote.
“Life throws all of us painful curveballs, and the only way to survive is to walk right through them with courage, grace, a forgiving spirit, and most of all, hope,” he wrote. “Many of you have wondered what the future holds for our cast and crew, and for the citizens of Hope Valley. Your care and concern means the world to us, and the best way we can thank you is to encourage you the way you encourage us because… Hope always lives here.”
Loughlin, 54, who is facing legal challenges for her alleged role in the college admissions scandal, has been edited out from any scenes going forward, Entertainment Weekly reported. She had played Abigail, the mayor of Hope Valley.
Hallmark also teased the show's return in a video featuring star Erin Krakow.
“We can't wait to welcome you back to Hope Valley and share more all-new stories with you,” the actress says in the clip, which also includes footage from the reworked drama.
After Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli were accused of paying $500,000 to help get their daughters admitted into the University of Southern California, “When Calls the Heart” went on an unplanned hiatus from Hallmark’s schedule. Three episodes from the current sixth season have already aired, however, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Loughlin had enjoyed a long relationship with Hallmark. In addition to “When Calls the Heart,” she had starred in several other projects, including the “Garage Sale Mysteries” films.
Former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman has agreed to plead guilty in the college admissions scandal, admitting she paid at least $15,000 for a proctor to alter the answers given by her eldest daughter on her SAT.
“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” she said in a statement.