Kevin Can Wait is going to look very different in Season 2. As previously announced, the show fired Erinn Hayes, who played Kevin James’ wife, Donna, in its freshman season. Meanwhile, Leah Remini, James’ former King of Queens costar and a Season 1 guest star, has been bumped up to become a series regular and the new female lead.
As if the abrupt switch wasn’t startling enough, it’s since been confirmed that Hayes’ character will actually be killed off, with her death being used to explain her sudden absence in Season 2. So how exactly is this drastic casting change going to work? Here’s how Hayes’ departure and Remini’s hiring will impact the sitcom’s sophomore season:
1. How Hayes’ character will die
Hayes was let go in June, but it was unclear how the series would explain her departure until August’s Television Critics Association panel. That’s when the CBS sitcom confirmed exactly how it’s dealing with Hayes’ departure: She’s being killed off.
CBS programming boss Thom Sherman addressed the decision to kill off Donna rather than write her off in a different way. “The discussions went on,” he explained, per Variety. “We talked about other things. Ultimately this what was decided with the producers that this was the best way to move forward.”
The specifics on how the character will die are still unknown.