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LI's Lori Loughlin returning to TV in 'When Calls the Heart' spinoff

Lori Loughlin will appear in the two-hour season

Lori Loughlin will appear in the two-hour season 2 premiere of "When Hope Calls" for cable channel GAC Family. Credit: AP / Steven Senne

Hauppauge-raised Lori Loughlin, who was fired from her Hallmark Channel drama series "When Calls the Heart" following her arrest in 2019's college-admissions scandal, marks her return to acting by reprising her role as Abigail Stanton in the spinoff "When Hope Calls."

The cable network GAC Family (formerly Great American Country), which launched its rebrand on Monday, announced that Loughlin will guest star in the two-hour season 2 premiere "When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas" on Dec. 18. The 10-episode first season ran on the Hallmark Channel from August to October 2019.

Loughlin's character — a café owner-turned-mayor of Hope Valley, the fictional, early 20th-century Canadian frontier town where "When Calls the Heart" is set — now appears in the spinoff's Brookfield with her son, Cody (Carter Ryan). With them is a troubled boy for the town's orphanage, run by sisters Lillian Walsh (Morgan Kohan) and Grace Bennett (Jocelyn Hudon).

Brookfield, meanwhile, is aflutter as one of three contenders in a magazine's search for the top Christmas town, and the local citizens are desperate to create the essence of the season for a visiting photojournalist, while not necessarily living up to the spirit of Christmas. As well, said GAC, "Abigail has a profound conversation with a dear friend from the past."

Loughlin, 57, has no social media and has not commented publicly.

Best known for her role as Aunt Becky on the 1987-1996 ABC family sitcom "Full House" and its recent Netflix sequel series "Fuller House," Loughlin and her fashion-designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, 58, were charged in the 2019 federal investigation of parents bribing colleges to guarantee their children's entry. In May of last year each pleaded guilty to fraud related to conspiring with consultant William "Rick" Singer to falsely have their daughters Olivia and Isabella admitted to the University of Southern California as rowing team recruits.

In addition to fines and community service, Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison. She was released from the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, near San Francisco, on Dec. 28 and began two years of supervised release.

The Boston Herald reported on Sept. 14 that a Massachusetts federal judge had granted Loughlin "expedited" permission to travel for work reasons to Canada, where "When Hope Calls" is filmed. The newspaper cited a probation official's request stating, "Ms. Loughlin anticipates she will be traveling for about one week" after "being offered a filming production project."

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