Death is coming to Kevin Can Wait. At the 2017 Summer Press Tour, CBS boss Thom Sherman, senior executive vice president of programming, revealed how the Kevin James series will address the exit of Erinn Hayes—and it's shocking one.
Kevin Can Wait will kill off Hayes' character Donna, wife to James' character, but that's not the only twist.
"The character will have passed away and we will be moving forward in time, catching up at later date," Sherman said. Following the panel, Sherman told reporters the decision to kill off the character came from producers.
Kelly Kahl, CBS Entertainment president, said Hayes was not involved with decision to kill off her character and "it will be addressed on the show, it will be be addressed tastefully and set up as a way to move forward."
"It will be treated with dignity and respect and the show will go forward," Kahl told reporters.
When asked if the show was turning into King of Queens with the addition of Leah Remini to series as a fulltime regular after a guest hit, Sherman hit back.
"Morphing into King of Queens? No, I don't think so. I think the show stands for itself," but noted the chemistry between Remini and James in the arc at the end of Kevin Can Wait was palpable.
"It was just undeniable spark there and I think Kevin, the studios and the network all got together and wanted to keep that magic and chemistry going forward," Kahl said about the change in direction.
Hayes confirmed the exit on Twitter in June and noted she was "let go" from the show. "Very sad. I had a great experience season 1," she said.
Remini and James starred in King of Queens on CBS from 1998-2007. Remini debuted in the Kevin Can Wait finale as Vanessa, James' character's former police partner. The character of Kevin returned to the force briefly for an undercover operation. Hayes' character was last seen quitting her job as a school nurse.
Kevin Can Wait season two premieres Monday, September 25 at 9 p.m. on CBS.