“Our viewers have been waiting for more adventures with Aurora and her friends,” Emily Merlin, Development Manager of Programming at Hallmark Media, said in a statement on Thursday, March 9. “What better way to do that than to take them back to when the young, amateur sleuth was just coming into her own? The Aurora Teagarden franchise is a fan favorite and we’re excited to share this new chapter with viewers.”
According to the network, Samuels, 28, will make her debut as a younger version of Aurora in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Something New. The upcoming film is set in Aurora’s post-college days when she returns to her home in Lawrenceton.
Hallmark teased the film’s plot in a synopsis, which read, “While her mother, Aida, struggles to keep her newfound real estate business, Aurora supports herself by working as a teacher’s assistant in a crime fiction class, and waitresses at the local diner at night, where she shares her love of researching true crime with her friend Sally and police officer Arthur.”
The press release continued: “When Sally’s fiancé doesn’t show up at their wedding rehearsal, Maid of Honor Aurora gets Arthur to help her search for him. When they discover a body, everyone assumes it is Sally’s tardy groom, but when it turns out to be someone else, Sally’s fiancé becomes the main suspect.”
The casting shakeup comes nearly a year after Cameron Bure, 46, confirmed she was moving to Great American Family. Before bidding farewell in April 2022, the Full House star became a network staple with 18 Aurora Teagarden Mysteries films. The actress, who first appeared on Hallmark Channel in 2008, also left her mark with nearly a dozen Christmas movies over the years.
“I make them because I love them. And I know that the viewers that watch them really love them, and they mean something to them,” Cameron Bure exclusively told Us Weekly in November 2021 about her holiday movie filmography. “I always try to make it the best that I can, but I let the pressure [of being the Christmas queen] go last year.”
Since her departure, the former View cohost claimed Hallmark became “a completely different network” after former CEO Bill Abbott stepped down in 2020 amid controversy over the removal of an ad featuring a same-sex couple. (Abbott, 60, went on to become the president and CEO of Great American Media.)
“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” Cameron Bure explained to WSJ. Magazine in November 2022. “I knew that the people behind Great American Family were Christians that love the Lord and wanted to promote faith programming and good family entertainment.”
In response to a question about Great American Media’s potential plans to include LGBTQIA+ movies, Cameron Bure replied, “I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core.”
That same month, the Fuller House alum clarified her point of view after receiving backlash.
“All of you who know me, know beyond question that I have great love and affection for all people,” she wrote via Instagram. “It absolutely breaks my heart that anyone would ever think I intentionally would want to offend and hurt anyone. It saddens me that the media is often seeking to divide us, even around a subject as comforting and merry as Christmas movies. But, given the toxic climate in our culture right now, I shouldn’t be surprised. We need Christmas more than ever.”