Lori Loughlin Books First Acting Role Following Jail Time for College Admissions Scandal

The actress will revisit her When Calls the Heart role in the spinoff, When Hope Calls, on GAC Family

Lori Loughlin is returning to the small screen.

After completing her sentencing for her involvement in the nationwide college admissions scandal, Loughlin, 57, will reprise her When Calls the Heart character Abigail Stanton on the second season of its spinoff series, When Hope Calls, PEOPLE confirms. She will guest star in the two-part premiere titled When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, premiering Dec. 18 on GAC Family (formerly Great American Country).

The Full House alum starred on the Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart's first six seasons. But following her arrest in 2019, she was written out.

At the time, Hallmark said in a statement that they were "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."

When Calls the Heart
Bettina Strauss/Crown Media

Loughlin's ties to the scandal also prevented her from being a part of future Fuller House episodes. She originally appeared in the first four seasons of Netflix's Full House spinoff, but her legal situation resulted in her not appearing in the fifth and final season.

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Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, 58, were both arrested in March 2019 for their involvement in the college admissions scandal organized by Rick Singer. The longtime couple pleaded guilty in May 2020 to paying $500,000 to falsely designate daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, 21, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 22, as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither ever participated in the sport.

Loughlin received two months in jail, a $150,000 fine, and 150 hours of community service, while Giannulli, 58, was sentenced to five months in jail, a $250,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service.

Loughlin started her prison sentence in October and served nearly two months before she was released from the federal correctional facility in Dublin, California, in December. Giannulli, meanwhile, was booked into federal prison on Nov. 19 and was released from home confinement in May, marking the end of his five-month sentence.

Lori Loughlin

As Loughlin is making her return to TV, her youngest daughter Olivia, 22, is launching her own iHeartRadio podcast next month, titled Conversations with Olivia Jade, and is competing on Dancing with the Stars' milestone 30th season, where she is partnered with Val Chmerkovskiy.

Recently, Olivia told PEOPLE and other reporters how Loughlin has been "a huge support" in helping her prepare for Dancing with the Stars.

"She's in total mom mode," Olivia said. "She's like, 'Make sure you take an Epsom salt bath,' she's trying to get me to take an ice bath. I'm like, 'I don't need an ice bath yet.'"

When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas, premieres Dec. 18 on GAC Family.

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