Lori Loughlin is starring in her first romantic comedy, Fall Into Winter, for Great American Family, and the network’s CEO has plans to make “America’s sweetheart” the face of the network.
GAC announced on Thursday that the 58-year-old actress will star as Keely, who is in utter shock when she finds out her brother sold his half of their family-owned candy shop to his best friend — and her nemesis — from high school. Keely and the nemesis, Brooks, are forced to find common ground but something else might also be in store for them.
Loughlin is no stranger to GAC. She appeared as part of an ensemble cast in the network’s Christmas special last December, When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas. In that two-part premiere, Loughlin reprised her When Calls the Heart character, Abigail Stanton. The Fuller House star had last played Abigail on season 6 of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart before the network cut ties with her in March 2019 due to her involvement in the college admissions scandal.
Loughlin initially pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges before accepting a plea deal in August 2020, which stipulated that she serve two months in prison, be under two years of supervised release, pay a fine of $150,000 and complete 100 hours of community service. She began her sentence in October 2020 and was released less than two months later. Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, Isabella and Olivia Jade, admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team, though neither of them had ever participated in the sport.
In spite of the scandal, GAC network CEO Bill Abbott told Variety earlier this week that he not only wanted Loughlin to join the GAC family, but that he wants her to be the face of the network, which also counts Candace Cameron Bure as a star and executive. Loughlin and Abbott have a long history of working together. When he was CEO of Hallmark Media, Loughlin starred in 16 Garage Sale Mystery films for Hallmark and starred in 56 episodes of When Calls the Heart.
“She’s America’s sweetheart, regardless of what happened,” said Abbott of Loughlin via Variety. “At the end of the day, she represents all that is positive about entertainment, and has had a stellar career — not only on screen, but also the way she’s conducted herself personally, in terms of being someone who has a track record of doing the right thing in the world at large, aside from whatever happened. I don’t know the details. She’s beloved and for good reason. We’re very proud of our association with her and we want to make her part of the fabric.”
Abbott had also told Variety that he and Loughlin talk “three times a week” and that one of the two scripts she likes has already been greenlit, which now turns out to be Fall Into Winter.
“Lori’s a good friend and somebody who we would love nothing more than to do a movie with, and we’re hopeful,” Abbott told Variety earlier this week.
Fall Into Winter will begin production next month and premiere in January.