After Lori Loughlin, who plays Abigail on When Calls the Heart, was indicted in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal, Hallmark fans wondered if this meant the end of WCTH. They can rest easy. When Calls the Heart is not canceled. It’s just on hiatus while Hallmark decides what to do next.
After a massive federal investigation, Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, and up to 50 people were indicted in a widespread college admissions cheating and bribery scandal, prosecutors announced.
The U.S. attorney’s office said about the scandal: “The conspiracy involved 1) bribing SAT and ACT exam administrators to allow a test taker, typically Riddell, to secretly take college entrance exams in place of students or to correct the students’ answers after they had taken the exam; 2) bribing university athletic coaches and administrators—including coaches at Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, and the University of Texas—to facilitate the admission of students to elite universities under the guise of being recruited as athletes; and (3) using the façade of Singer’s charitable organization to conceal the nature and source of the bribes.”
Loughlin specifically is accused of paying $500,000 to get her daughters into USC, by having them recruited as crew athletes through bribery. Loughlin was filming for Hallmark when she surrendered to the FBI and was arraigned in federal court in Los Angeles. She was released on a $1 million bond, Deadline reported.
Hallmark has assured fans that despite what’s happened to the actress who played Abigal, one of the show’s main characters, the show itself is not canceled.
The episode airing on Sunday, March 17, was pulled. It’s unclear if the show will come back the following week, but it’s likely it will take longer than that for the show to return.
A source close to the show told Entertainment Weekly that they’re considering editing out Loughlin’s character, but a decision hasn’t been made yet.
When Daniel Lissing left When Calls the Heart for personal reasons, he left on good terms, so it was a different situation. (He starred in a Christmas movie on the channel after he left the show.) They had considered recasting his character, Jack, or having him move away and break up with Elizabeth. In the end, they decided the only real option that was true to Jack’s character was to have him killed off.
If Abigail is killed off, it would happen off screen since Loughlin won’t be returning to film for Hallmark.
It’s unclear at this time when the show is returning, but it’s not canceled.