Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman's careers began in surprisingly similar ways: they booked gigs as teen actresses on network after-school specials, but their careers certainly diverged from there. Huffman spent years in the theater (replacing Madonna in Speed the Plow in her Broadway debut, and winning an Obie award in 1995) before finding fame first with cult comedy Sports Night and then more markedly with her Emmy-winning role on Desperate Housewives and her Oscar-nominated turn in Transamerica. Loughlin, on the other hand, never chased awards glory, but had a steady career working in horror movies, family sitcoms, both daytime and night time soap operas, and more recently basic cable TV movies. Still, much like their careers began in the same way, they could very well end in the same way after both were indicted and arrested in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal.
While several celebrities have managed to come back after dealing with tax fraud legal issues, and you'd struggle to find anyone who remembers which entertainment figures were named in the Panama Papers, this scandal seems to have touched a far more raw nerve of the general public. With each side of the political spectrum already harboring anger at the privileged and elite, becoming one of the faces of a scandal that exposes how college admission isn't quite so fair and merit-based as we'd like to pretend is not good news for any entertainer's career.
In Loughlin's case, she's already faced a major career setback.
In recent years, the former Full House actress had become one of the most popular stars on both the Hallmark Channel and its sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries . She starred as an antiques shop owner with a knack for solving crimes in the Garage Sale Mystery series, and stars as a widow in 1910s Canada in the network's When Calls the Heart, which is currently airing its sixth season (this in addition to occasionally filming Holiday-themed movies for both networks as well).
Even as Hallmark has amassed a surprising amount of stars who have found steady work on their network (Courtney Thorne-Smith, Lacey Chabert, and Rachel Leigh Cook amongst them), Loughlin was one of the most prolific actresses on the network. Not anymore.
“We are 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,” network management told People in a statement.
Not only will the sister networks no longer work with her, but they'll also pull all of her previous work from air as well.
Of course, Loughlin still had one other semi-regular gig on Netflix's Full House reboot, Fuller House. She had reprised her "Aunt Becky" characters on 13 of the series' 57 episodes. A fifth and final season of the show was announced earlier this year, but Netflix has not commented whether Loughlin will appear in any episodes.
Though, it's Netflix that will also have to think about what to do with Huffman's next few projects as well.
Huffman's most high-profile upcoming project is in the streaming service's Ava DuVernay-directed When They See Us, a mini-series about five Harlem youths who were incorrectly convicted of the rape and murder of a woman in Central Park. The planned release for the project, on May 31st right before the Emmy Awards eligibility cutoff, seemed to indicate that Netflix had big awards hopes. Huffman has a major role as Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor who lead the case against the men. Though Huffman wasn't seen in the teaser trailer, her voice is heard ominously over scenes featuring the main characters. In a strange way, Huffman's recent legal troubles may not harm anyone's reaction to the project, considering she plays, essentially, not only a villain in the series, but a privileged one who wrongs privileged youth. Though, Huffman also co-stars in an upcoming Netflix comedy film alongside Angela Bassett and Patricia Arquette called The Otherhood. Netflix has not made any announcement about either project.
PR execs who have talked to the press seem to be split on whether either can survive the scandal and book projects beyond what's already in the can, though many agree that Loughlin, more noted for her mainstream appeal than her acting skills, may have a harder time (Huffman, for her part, already has her longtime friend and theater mega-writer David Mamet in her corner, ready to support her).
In the meantime, though, both have actual felony charges to deal before attempting to make a comeback in the court of public opinion. And as of right now, that public is mostly dreaming about who should play Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman in the movie about the scandal rather than the roles these two should play next.