‘When Calls the Heart’: Who Do Fans Think Could Replace Lori Loughlin as Mayor Abigail Stanton?
When Calls the Heart fans were left reeling when the Hallmark Channel fired star Lori Loughlin after she was implicated in a college admissions scam. The 54-year-old actress has played Mayor Abigail Stanton on the popular show since its debut, and Hearties wondered how the network would deal with her departure. Would the character be written off the program, or would producers choose to replace the actress and have another person step into the Abigail role?
While some fans would like to see Loughlin get another chance on the show despite her legal troubles, others think producers made the right choice by cutting ties. And they have some ideas about who could replace her.
Who should join the When Calls the Heart cast?
When Calls the Heart has been on hiatus since mid-March as producers retool future episodes. That’s given fans plenty of time to speculate about how the program might proceed without Loughlin. On a Facebook thread discussing the future of the show, they offered a number of ideas about who could replace the actress if producers do decide to recast her part.
One suggestion was actress Kellie Martin, who currently appears in the Hailey Dean Mysteries on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. She also has experience with family-friendly period dramas, having starred in Christy, a show about a young woman who moves to a small Appalachian town in 1912 to work as a teacher. It ran from 1994 to 1995 on CBS.
Another idea was Lisa Whelchel. The Facts of Life star has appeared in Hallmark movies like For Better or For Worse and Hearts of Spring. And at 55, she’s just about the same age as Loughlin, which could make her an ideal fit for the Abigail Stanton role. And as a devout Christian, she’d be a good match for the faith-based program.
Some fans floated the name of Whelchel’s Facts of Life co-star Nancy McKeon as a Loughlin replacement. She’s also appeared in Hallmark movies and even starred in a Hallmark ad as a young actress. Others voted for Teryl Rothery, who starred in Stargate SG-1 and appeared in the Hallmark Channel drama Cedar Cove.
Loughlin’s Fuller House co-star Candace Cameron Bure has also been suggested as a substitute for the disgraced actress. While Bure has voiced her support for her colleague, saying she’s praying for the actress, there’s no sign she’s angling for her job.
One actress nominated herself
At least one actress has thrown her hat into the ring, saying she’d be happy to take over for Loughlin on the show. Hallmark Chanel vet Daphne Zuniga (she’s appeared in movies like Mail Order Bride and A Family Thanksgiving) volunteered herself in a tweet that read “Hi @hallmarkchannel” followed by a raised hand emoji.
Hearties who are holding out hope that Hallmark will relent and let the show continue with Loughlin will likely be disappointed, say experts. The scandal that the actress is involved in conflicts with the network’s wholesome, family-focused values.
“It’s a feel-good, family values-type channel, and obviously scandal is the opposite of that,” market strategist Laura Ries told Time. Rather than jeopardizing the brand, the channel will probably focus on finding someone to fill Loughlin’s shoes, which shouldn’t be a problem.
“There are other actresses out there, whether they find or develop another to replace her,” Ries said.
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