When Kevin Can Wait returned for Season 2, Erinn Hayes' character Donna was shuffled off to the dustbin of history with a throwaway joke about coupons. And most fans thought it was a weird, perhaps even inappropriate way to kill off Kevin James' wife on the show. Now, Kevin James has stepped forward to explain why Donna's demise had to happen.
The plain and simple answer, according to Kevin James, is that Kevin Can Wait had hit a stalemate. There was no bad blood between him and Erinn Hayes, despite her firing. The comedian simply felt the sitcom couldn't move forward with her in place. He explains about off his on-screen wife.
"We were literally just running out of ideas."
Kevin James finally revealed the truth behind the matter in a new interview published over the weekend. Previously silent on the whole ordeal, James decided to open up about his decision to fire actress Erinn Hayes as his wife. A decision that happened as the first season was coming to a close earlier this spring.
The move was initially made to make way for Leah Remini, who appeared in the show's final Season 1 episode as a guest star. Remini and James played husband and wife on the long-running sitcom The King of Queens, and the idea was to get the two of them back together for this new show. Kevin James continues to explain the decision.
"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."
CBS had previously announced that it was using the death of Hayes' Donna character to further advanced the plot, which follows James' retired police officer trying to adjust to life outside the workforce. Kevin James only made a quick reference to Donna's death in the Season 2 premiere. And it caused quite the backlash amongst fans. James is adamant that this was very necessary. He says this about the continuing storyline.
"The plot of the show didn't have enough drive. 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 second season of Kevin Can Wait will follow Remini and James as former cop partners who are rediscovering their friendship and decide to build a business relationship as well with their own private security company. This idea will continue to be explored in further episodes as this new season continues. Kevin Can Wait airs on Monday nights at 9 pm, only on CBS. The original interview was conducted by The New York Daily News.