Despite the fact that When Calls the Heart star Lori Loughlin has been dropped by the Hallmark Channel following her alleged involvement in a college admissions scandal, the network will push forward with the series without the star.
The fate of the show was initially unclear after Loughlin, 54, was arrested last week on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Producer Brian Bird and his production team said Saturday via WCTH's official Instagram account that the show has not been canceled and will return with new episodes after a hiatus for "retooling."
"#Hearties, thank you for your love, support, and patience these last several days as we have all been preoccupied with the news about Lori Loughlin and her family, and the decisions our colleagues at the Hallmark Channel USA needed to make," the statement began. "As you can imagine, everyone involved with When Calls the Heart was surprised by these developments, so we hope you can forgive us for initially staying silent while we sorted through how to respond."
"As for the show itself, we know millions of fans are on pins and needles wondering what will happen now. Let us reassure you, When Calls the Heart has always been bigger than the sum of its parts, and it HAS NOT BEEN CANCELED," the statement continued. "With the full support of the network, we have gone on a creative hiatus to do some retooling on the remaining Season 6 episodes. That process has already begun. Hope Valley will return to your TV screens as soon as we can bring the episodes to you."
The statement concluded with a thank you to fans for their support through what Bird called a "challenging transition."
"Hope Valley will return soon. The show must go on," read text over a photo of the show's setting.
When Calls the Heart premiered in 2014, with Loughlin as widow Abigail Stanton. The Fuller House star was dropped by the Hallmark Channel in the wake of her arrest.
"We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations," the network said in a statement on Thursday. "We are no longer working with Lori Loughlin and have stopped development of all productions that air on the Crown Media Family Network channels involving Lori Loughlin including Garage Sale Mysteries, an independent third party production."
Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, are among the dozens of wealthy parents charged in an alleged college admissions scam involving elite colleges and universities like Yale, Georgetown, USC and Stanford. She and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes to designate their daughters as recruits for USC's crew team, even though they don't row.