Hallmark renews When Calls the Heart for season 7 without Lori Loughlin
Earlier this week, Hallmark Channel announced that it would finally return When Calls the Heart to the schedule in May. Now the network has arranged more visits to Hope Valley in the future as well.
Hallmark Channel has renewed the heartwarming early 20th century-set drama for a seventh season, When Calls the Heart star Erin Krakow revealed in a video announcement. The news comes only three days after fans received word that season 6 will resume on May 5. The show had been in limbo since mid-March, when Hallmark Channel first announced that it was cutting all ties with star Lori Loughlin and then pulled the series off the air for a “retooling” in the wake of the college admissions scandal. On Wednesday, EW reported that the remaining episodes of season 6 have been re-edited so that Loughlin — who plays Abigail Stanton, the mayor of Hope Valley — has been removed. Hallmark and the producers have not commented on the fate of the character or how it might be handled on the series.
When Calls the Heart stands as Hallmark’s longest-running and top-rated show. The first episode of season 6, which aired Feb. 24, was the highest-rated premiere in Hallmark history, drawing 3.6 million viewers in Live+3. Season 7 will launch next year.
Last month, Hallmark Cards, which owns Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, announced that it was severing all ties with Loughlin, who, in addition to her starring role on WCTH, headlined Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ The Garage Sales Mysteries as well as several of the network’s Christmas movies. The actress and her designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, stand accused of making a $500,000 payment to aid in the admissions process to the University of Southern California by pretending that their daughters, Olivia Jade, 19, and Isabella Rose, 20, rowed crew, so they would be classified as athletic recruits. Loughlin and Giannulli are facing charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, and last week the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that the couple are also among the 16 parents being charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
On Wednesday, WCTH executive producer Brian Bird thanked fans on Instagram for “sticking with us through this challenging time,” and added: “Life throws all of us painful curveballs, and the only way to survive is to walk right through them with courage, grace, a forgiving spirit, and most of all, hope. Many of you have wondered what the future holds for our cast and crew, and for the citizens of Hope Valley. Your care and concern means the world to us, and the best way we can thank you is to encourage you the way you encourage us because… Hope always lives here.”
When Calls the Heart also stars Jack Wagner, Martin Cummins, Pascale Hutton, Kavan Smith, Chris McNally, Loretta Walsh, and Kevin McGarry.