Obviously, now is a challenging time to be a fan of When Calls the Heart on Hallmark Channel. It’s certainly not a dilemma we ever imagined this show to be in. One of the most-wholesome series on all of cable TV now has itself in a delicate tightrope, trying to figure out whether or not it can continue because of a number of recent headlines against its marquee star in Lori Loughlin.
If you did not hear earlier today, Loughlin was officially fired from all of her Hallmark-related duties, which means that she will not be around on the aforementioned show or others. The decision that When Calls the Heart has to make now is massive — and also difficult. This is a show that is deep into filming and multiple episodes featuring Loughlin have already been filmed. Do you still air those? While some viewers understand that episodes are filmed long before a show ends up airing, not everyone does.
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As of right now, Deadline notes that the upcoming episode of When Calls the Heart set for Sunday is being temporarily pulled — whether this becomes a long hiatus remains to be determined, as the writers try to come up with some creative ways to continue the show. It’s possible that Loughlin’s Abigail Stanton could be largely edited out of upcoming episodes (it’s hard to imagine them completely removing her, but that’s still on the table), or it’s possible that they could go back to the drawing board and try to re-do much of the upcoming season. Imagine the financial frustrations that this could cause, as TV is expensive and it could derail almost everything that the show has planned out. Yet, it could be viewed as a necessary alternative than the current plan of putting new episodes on the air that feature the actress after her arrest.
What Hallmark needs to think about mostly here is the show’s long-term future and making sure nothing happens to severely inhibit When Calls the Heart from coming back for a season 7. The ratings as of right now justify a renewal and for the time being, we do think the show will come back. It’s bigger than any one actor and we think the last thing Hallmark will want to do is jeopardize the overall show due to the actions of just one cast member.
The biggest reason ratings could fall…
If Hallmark totally mishandles this situation, and that could include heavily featuring episodes with Loughlin in them given public sentiment towards her at present. Because of this show’s specific audience and the programming approach of Hallmark as a whole, they have to be more delicate than many other networks would in this situation. When Calls the Heart is a huge property for the network — it’s spawning a spin-off called When Hope Calls and it is timeless television that could go on for years. They are going to do everything in their power to keep it on for a while longer.
What do you want the future will hold on When Calls the Heart? Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: Hallmark.)