The “When Calls the Heart” showrunners and cast were as stunned and completely caught off guard by the regrettable involvement of their longtime star, Lori Loughlin, in the college admissions scandal. Beyond being in the most-watched and beloved drama in Hallmark Channel history, the actress had a key role as executive producer for the series. She also starred in multiple perennial Hallmark movies along with the slew of Christmas productions. The decision was made quickly to sever ties with the star the day after her arrest by federal authorities, despite her efforts in persuading the judge to allow her to retain her passport in order to continue work in Vancouver.

The “When Calls the Heart” show and numerous other productions make their home there.

To their credit, Executive Producer Brian Bird and several of the favorites of the Northwest Territory saga have cultivated close relationships with the loyal groups of “Hearties” who proclaim their loyalty out loud. This takes place the at annual HFR conventions, in social media conversations, and even through making handmade crafts and keepsakes fitting for the early 1900s setting.

The assurance and comforting words that came from Brian Bird on behalf of all the producers that “the show must go on” written across a scenic graphic of Hope Valley, along with grateful words from castmates days ago, gave fans the heartfelt lift they needed through the tumult.

As reported on March 23 by International Business Times and other outlets, no one knows the specifics of the “retooling” under the “creative hiatus” currently underway.

What is a sure thing, is that this time is likely anything but a hiatus for anyone on the crew of “When Calls the Heart” and some roles have contenders for recasting when Season 6 returns.

Who will step into period shoes?

The opening of Season 6 had already thrust “When Calls the Heart” into the modern era more than any other in just the first three episodes. Fiona (Kayla Wallace) caused more than a few eyes to gawk at the full view of her stockings and stylish, big-city shoes when she sauntered up steps in her above the ankle attire.

The telephone at last brought communication to a new level for the community, thanks to savvy of Fiona, and some fans may have already seen a peek of Pascale Hutton as Rosemary, breaking in her brand-new “home phone.” The latest news of Hope Valley will never travel so speedily, and Rosemary always plays the perfect cheerleader for the good news in the lives of citizens, too.

No one knows if a new face will be in the role of strong female mayor, mom, and business owner, Abigail Stanton, but some familiar names have been put in the hat. Andie McDowell, who made a great success of “Cedar Cove” on the Hallmark Channel before “When Calls the Heart,” is a top contender. Her contemporary drama focused on an older woman with a successful career establishing a life after divorce, and she could embody the perfect mindset for making things right after a loss.

Kimberly Williams Paisley is another star being tossed about for the role. She starred in “Christmas Train” for the network, and is very familiar with powerful women, too, having had her run in “Nashville.”

Kelly Rutherford of “Pretty Little Liars” has also expressed interest, and Daphne Zuniga, who is practically a queen of TV drama, with her bevy of female-driven TV movies, literally raised her hand with a “Hi” to Hallmark Channel on social media, making her keen interest in a move to Hope Valley very evident.

Some fans have expressed that they would love to see a return by Brooke Shields, who portrayed departed Mountie Jack Thornton’s mother, Charlotte. Her reemergence could create a nice bridge between past and present for a series restart.

Not in the garage

The Hallmark movie series, “Garage Sale Mysteries” also was halted with the recent events, and no one from the network has commented on its future. Although produced under a different production awning than “When Calls the Heart,” the successful ongoing series would be another plum for the right person with personality for sniffing out clues.

Some favorite couples will stroll right on with life in Hope Valley, Paul Greene, who portrays Dr. Carson Shepherd, showed gratitude to fans for their support through what he called “a tough spot,” and his on-screen love, Andrea Brooks, openly gushed about her affection for the TV locale and its loving fans. Leading lady, Erin Krakow has cultivated much love from fans for her positive and playful words, and those messages will be more than welcome when the actress is ready to share.

When Calls the Heart” constantly embraces the goodness that comes from going through trials, and even though some new faces may be part of the drama's future, the messages of fortitude and faith will remain the same. Change is never a reason to lose hope.