Lori Loughlin is officially returning to acting following her stint in prison. The When Calls the Heart star will reprise her popular character, Abigail Stanton, in the Hallmark Channel series' spinoff, When Hope Calls. The spinoff is coming back for its second season on a new network, GAC Family. Deadline reports that Loughlin will appear in the two-part Season 2 premiere titled "When Hope Cals: A Country Christmas," which will air on Saturday, Dec. 18.
Loughlin hasn't appeared on TV since Season 6 of When Calls the Heart before she was fired over her involvement in the college admissions scandal in 2019. The Full House alum, who is currently on probation after serving two months in prison, has been rumored to return to the series following a report that she was given permission by a federal judge to travel to Canada for a week in late September-early October for "a filming production project." When Hope Calls films in Ontario.
Formerly known as Great American Country, GAC Family launched on Monday with the tagline "Stories Well Told." The newly-rebranded channel is run by President & CEO Bill Abbott, former CEO of Hallmark Channel parent Crown Media Family Networks. Season 2 of When Hope Calls will be the first original series for GAC Family. Season 1 of the show aired on Hallmar, with its premiere episode averaged 2 million total viewers. Series star Morgan Kohan will also return, reprising her role as Lillian Welsh. Additional cast members will reportedly be announced soon.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were arrested in May of 2019 and later convicted of paying half a million dollars in bribes to get their two daughters accepted into the University of Southern California. It was a part of a broad scandal called Operation Varsity Blues, and while other participants pleaded guilty from the start, Loughlin and Giannulli took some time to admit their complicity.
Loughlin finally pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and was sentenced to serve two months at a federal prison. She was also fined $150,000, and ordered to perform community service. Giannulli pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud. He was sentenced to five months in prison and fined $250,000.
As the family emerges from the scandal, Loughlin is not the only one edging her way back into the spotlight. Loughlin and Giannulli's daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, is currently competing on Season 30 of Dancing With the Stars, which premiered last week.