Kevin Can Wait is consciously uncoupling its central duo.
Erinn Hayes, who portrayed Kevin James’ wife Donna in Season 1 of the CBS sitcom, will not be returning for Season 2, TVLine has learned exclusively. The news comes just one day after the network announced that James’ former King of Queens co-star, Leah Remini, will join the show as a full-fledged series regular following a buzzed-about guest stint at the end of Season 1.
It is currently unknown how Kevin Can Wait will address Hayes’ absence, but a source confirms to TVLine that the sitcom is heading in a new creative direction in Season 2.
In the Season 1 finale, retired cop Kevin temporarily returned to the force as part of an ongoing undercover op with former partner Vanessa Cellucci (Remini). After the case was closed, Kevin came home to learn that Donna had quit her job as a school nurse after being passed up for a promotion, meaning both of them were now unemployed. At the time, the character insisted that he had no intention of going back to work full-time, but the door was at least left open for that to be a possibility.
In addition to James and Remini, the Kevin Can Wait cast includes James’ real-life brother, Gary Valentine, who played cousin Danny on The King of Queens.
UPDATE: Hayes has since weighed in on her “very sad” departure, thanking the fans for their support.
Kevin Can Wait Season 2 premieres on Monday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c.
Your thoughts on Hayes’ departure?