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‘When Calls the Heart’ Creator Says He’d ‘Love Nothing More’ Than to Have Lori Loughlin Return to the Show

Lori Loughlin left ‘When Calls the Heart’ in 2019. Now that she’s served her time in prison, the show’s executive producer Brian Bird says he’d like to see her return. In season 8, the show referenced her character several times, possibly setting the stage for her return.

It’s been more than two years since Abigail Stanton left Hope Valley. The character, played by Lori Loughlin, was written off When Calls the Heart in the wake of the college admissions scandal. But now that Loughlin has served her time in prison, is there a chance she could return to the Hallmark Channel series? At least one person involved in the show hopes so. 

‘When Calls the Heart’ co-creator Brian Bird weighs in on whether we’ll see Abigail again

Erin Krakow and Lori Loughlin sitting next to each other on a wooden sidewalk in 'When Calls the Heart'
Erin Krakow and Lori Loughlin from When Calls the Heart | ©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Dolsen

After Loughlin was fired, When Calls the Heart Season 6 was temporarily pulled off the air while future episodes were reworked to remove Abigail. When the show returned, viewers learned the cafe owner had gone “back east” to care for her sick mother. That seemed to leave a door open for the actor to someday return to the show. 

Now, When Calls the Heart co-creator Brian Bird is making it clear he’s open to having Abigail come back to Hope Valley. 

“I would personally love nothing more,” he said when asked about Loughlin’s future on the show during an appearance on the June 14 episode of Dr. Steve Greene’s Greenelines podcast. “Whether or not we can do it is another question.” 

‘When Calls the Heart’ is the kind of show that would welcome Lori Loughlin back, Bird says 

While Bird, who is an executive producer on the show, thinks Loughlin could have a place in future episodes, he admits the choice isn’t solely up to him. 

“There’s a lot of moving parts to it, to that decision,” he said. “There’s a lot of other stakeholders besides me who would have to say yes to that. So I can’t say with certainty that we can pull that off. I hope we can.”

On When Calls the Heart, characters who’ve behaved badly are often redeemed and forgiven by the larger community. Bird seems to think extending the same grace to Loughlin would be appropriate. 

“If anyone should return to Hope Valley it would be Abigail,” he said. “In my opinion, that’s the kind of show we are.” 

The Hallmark Channel show has hinted Abigail might be back 


‘When Calls the Heart’ Executive Producer Reveals the Show Could Have Been Canceled After Lori Loughlin Scandal

During When Calls the Heart Season 8, Abigail wasn’t far from some characters’ minds, even if she wasn’t seen on screen.  

In one episode, Henry Gowen (Martin Cummins) reminisced about a woman who encouraged him to be a better person, clearly referencing Abigail. Then, in the April 25 episode, Gowen mentioned to Ned (Hrothgar Mathews) that he corresponded with Abigail. 

“When I sit at my desk and I look out my window across at the cafe and I see her name, I’ve got nothing but regret,” Gowen said.

In the season finale, Gowen left Hope Valley. While he didn’t say where he was going, the meaningful glance he gave to the sign above Abigail’s Cafe suggested he planned to reunite with her

In a February 2021 interview with Fox News, series star Krakow said she felt Abigail had a future on the show.

“[Abigail’s] name still hangs on a sign above the cafe,” she said. “She will always be an incredibly important part of When Calls the Heart. I would love to see her character back in Hope Valley again. We’ve got a lot more exciting stories that we could tell with her.”

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