Kevin Can Wait was in the news before it’s second season began because they announced that Donna (Kevin’s wife) was leaving the show. Fans were very disappointed about it, and the show didn’t even explain why she had died. But now, actor Kevin James has given fans closure.
The sit-com renewed for a second season in September this year, but the show garnered a lot more attention for a different reason. It was announced that Erinn Hayes, who played Donna on Kevin Can Wait, was not returning to the show. Then, everyone began speculating as to the reason why.
These questions began haunting everyone. And even after the season began, there was no answer. But now, Kevin James has admitted why Donna did not return to the show.
In an interview, Kevin James was candid about why his on-screen wife was not a part of the TV show. When Kevin Can Wait season 2 began, there was a time jump to a year after Donna’s death, and there was no explanation as to how she died.
According to the NY Daily News website, Donna was not killed off because of Hayes’ lack of talent or a compatibility issue, but purely for plot reasons.
When asked about why Donna was missing, James said, “It really felt like this was needed for this show to drive forward.”
He also added that the show was originally about a single father who is a retired cop, but the producers decided to add a mother to the mix after they thought about the future of the plot. But could the real reason be that they did not know what else to do with a cop story?
James was very open about the decision to let Hayes go when he said, “If we got through a second season, I wouldn’t see us getting through a third one, we were literally just running out of ideas.”
The show received major backlash from disappointed fans who had grown to love the funny mom character, but the decision to bring in Leah Remini was well received. She was brought in for a full-time role, and people wanted to know what role Remini would be playing.
As James’ wife on King of Queens, Remini already shares a rapport with him. And now that we are well into the season, we know she is an amazing addition to the show.
Vanessa Cellucci played by Leah Remini is Kevin’s former partner from the police force. And when she made an appearance in the season one finale, everybody was excited.
James said, “When she came on … it was just the greatest, fans loved it, everybody on the crew loved it. We just knew right away, so we thought, ‘How can we get her here full-time to be on the show?’”
On the show, the changes after his wife’s death would have Kevin dealing with his children by himself. He would be the one to witness his kids going off to college or their marriage. And since this was the initial idea for the show, it’s only that much more convincing now.
But Kevin James still does not want to address the “How did Donna die?” issue because he feels that there is very little place for a serious death in a light-hearted comedy. But at least fans will be relieved to know that Hayes was not kicked out of the show and was instead let go because it would benefit the plot.
But who knows, a flashback is always a possibility. So, we might just get to see Donna one last time in the future!