Off the air since March 17 because of now-former series regular Lori Loughlin’s growing indictment in the elite college scandal, the long running Hallmark Channel show will return on May 5, lead Erin Krakow revealed today.
“We can’t wait to welcome you back to Hope Valley and share all new stories with you,” Krakow exclaimed in a three-minute video at 11 AM PST – as you can watch above.
#Hearties, we’re excited to announce When Calls the Heart returns with a special 2-night back-to-back premiere event beginning May 5 at 8pm/7c and continuing May 6 at 8pm/7c! ❤️ Tune in during the premiere of #BottledWithLove Saturday at 8pm/7c for another BIG WCTH announcement! pic.twitter.com/5IWNqk3kT0
— Hallmark Channel (@hallmarkchannel) April 10, 2019
Popping up just before an airing of Eat, Play, Love and on the TVs of WCTH fans who DVR the Michael Landon Jr-produced Western drama based on Janette Oake’s writings, the message from the actor who plays Elizabeth Thatcher Thornton was the first concrete news of the end of the hiatus of sorts. The video also featured a “sneak peek” at the new episodes, with no sign of Loughlin.
Hallmark says they’ll have more WCTH news to drop on April 13 during the debut of premiere of the channel’s original movie Bottled with Love – which will also probably provide a nice ratings bump
The still-UTA-repped Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli were arrested last month part of a yearlong investigation that also involved American Crime star Felicity Huffman and more than 30 other parents. Expressing “shame” for her actions, Huffman announced on April 8 that she would enter a guilty plea in the matter in an attempt to cut down probable jail time. Loughlin and Giannulli have lawyered up but not entered a plea nor indicated that they are preparing to do so.
Coming off her first court appearance in downtown LA in the sprawling admissions scheme, Loughlin was terminated from all her Hallmark projects like WCTH and the now canceled Garage Sale Mysteries on March 14.
Hours later, the Crown Media-owned outlet hit the pause button on Season 6 of WCTH as producers dove into finding “creative solutions” to revamping already completed episodes and others still to be filmed or edited. While Hallmark has insisted repeatedly since that the show was wasn’t canceled, among the challenges they faced were how to sideline Loughlin’s Abigail Station character and do crash rewrites for the reason of the season.
With prosectors determined to see Huffman, Loughlin and other deep-pocketed parents serve some jail time, the Full House actor and Giannulli were accused of paying “bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team.” This phony designation successfully pursued was despite the fact that “they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” according to the unsealed 200-page indictment from the the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts in the nationwide and on-going investigation.
Huffman, Loughlin, Giannulli and ex-STX board member Bill McGlashan are being charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud, according to the unsealed March 6 “Operation Varsity Blues” indictment. The charge could see all facing a maximum of 20 years behind bars and fines of $250,000 “or twice the gross gain or loss,” according to the feds.
Loughlin, Giannulli, McGlashan and several other indicted parents were slapped with a new money laundering charge yesterday that also sees a potential 20 years of prison time. Clearly intended to have the 16 specific parents make a plea or deal, the new conspiracy charge additionally includes three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000 or “twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering,” declares the April 9 second superseding indictment.