Great American Family, a television channel that’s not the Hallmark Channel, has big plans for white-collar criminal/actress Lori Loughlin, with network CEO Bill Abbott telling Variety: “She’s America’s sweetheart, regardless of whatever happened.”
“Whatever happened” refers to, of course, the two months of prison Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli served in 2020 after pleading guilty to fraud conspiracy charges in the college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues.” The couple was accused of paying William “Rick” Signer — the alleged mastermind behind the scam — $500,000 to have their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, even though neither girl was on the crew team in high school.
Since her release in 2020, Loughlin has kept a low profile, though she did make her television return on the Great American series, When Hope Calls. (That series was a spin-off of When Calls the Heart, the show that had to figure out how to write out Loughlin’s character after she was first charged in 2019). Her ties to Great American Family and Abbott run deep, too: Abbott used to head up the Hallmark Channel, which aired numerous movies and shows (including When Calls the Heart) that featured Loughlin. And Great American Family airs re-runs of Full House and Fuller House and frequently works with Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber, Loughlin’s former co-stars.
While Abbott didn’t initially provide any specifics about the projects they’re developing with Loughlin, on Thursday Great American Family announced the actress would return in the romantic comedy Fall Into Winter, which will go into production next month with a January 2023 release scheduled.
Of Loughlin, Abbott added, “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.”
Should Abbott want to learn “the details” of “whatever happened,”, there are plenty of resources out there for him, from books to documentaries to Lifetime movies. Hell, even this post, and the various links contained in it, would help.
And to be fair, it’s not as if Loughlin, and so many others who’ve been imprisoned in this country, don’t deserve a chance at carving out a better, more sustainable, and moral life for themselves. It’s just that it sure does seem like the American carceral state is structured to ensure only people like Loughlin get such a second chance. As it stands now, maybe Abbott’s assessment that Loughlin is America’s sweetheart isn’t that crazy — we sure do adore and cater to our white-collar criminals.