Kevin James character will be widowed in the next season of Kevin Can Wait as his on-screen wife Erinn Hayes leaves the show.


CBS entertainment president Kelly Kahl and senior executive VP Thom Sherman revealed the news at the Critics Association press tour. They had previously announced Hayes’ exit from the show as James’ wife Donna. They also shared that James will be reunited with his King of Queens co-star Leah Remini in season two.

“It will be addressed tastefully and set up as a way of moving forward,” Kahl said, explaining there will be a time jump. “I’m not sure we can make that hilarious. It will be something that will have taken place in the past.”

As to why Hayes is leaving, a specific reason was not given. But it seems that Hayes was released from her role after James and the network was pleased with guest shots by Remini. She appeared in two-episode story last season in which she played James’ former police partner. The episode was called “Sting of Queens,” but Kahl says she had not planned on Remini landing a full-time role.


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“Erinn did a great job,” Kahl said. “When everyone collectively saw how Kevin and Leah worked together in the last few episodes there was an undeniable spark there. It wasn’t a test run. It was stunt casting that was meant to pump a little something into the show and it turned out really well.”

James and Remini shared the King of Queens spotlight for nine years before ending its run in 2007. This move will be Remini’s first comeback to network television. Her last gig was as a co-host on CBS’ daytime talk show The Talk. She was fired after one season. Remini’s latest series, Scientology and the Aftermath, which appeared on A&E, was nominated for an Informational Series Emmy.

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