Kevin Can Wait fans had a lot of feelings (and that’s putting it mildly) about how the show killed off Erinn Hayes’ character in the season two premiere. Showrunner Rob Long explained the decision prior to the episode in August, but the series’ star, Kevin James, had yet to comment himself — until now. In a new interview, James revealed the real reason they said goodbye to his TV wife after just one season.
While it was pretty clear that the comedy was ditching Donna (Hayes) to bring in James’ former King of Queens costar Leah Remini, the actor elaborated on the character swap while chatting with the New York Daily News, explaining that the folks behind the scenes “were literally just running out of ideas.”
He added, “I get that people are like, ‘Whoa, why would you do this?’ But it really felt like a thing like this was needed for this show to drive forward.”
He also revealed that his character was initially scripted as a single father, but that a change had been made before the show went to air and his fictional wife was written in. After the first season, they knew that they had to go back to their original plan. “The plot of the show didn’t have enough drive,” James told the NYDN. “If we got through a second season, I wouldn’t see us getting through a third one.”
Executive producer Long previously told TVLine that the second season of Kevin Can Wait would not only give the lead character the motivation the story needed, but also do its best to respect the character (and actress) they said goodbye to. “The goal was to give Kevin’s character a real drive and a real predicament [involving] how a family comes back together [after tragedy]. Also, out of respect for the character of Donna — and certainly the way that Erinn Hayes portrayed her — it seemed like the only right and fair way to treat her character,” he said in August.
We’ll have to see if fans agree as the second season of Kevin Can Wait continues to air Mondays at 9pm ET/8pm CT on CBS.
What do you think about Kevin James’ explanation for killing off Erinn Hayes’ character on Kevin Can Wait? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photo via Michael Parmelee/CBS via Getty)