Life after Donna has officially begun for Kevin Gable, with production underway on Kevin Can Wait Season 2.
The CBS sitcom will look slightly different when it returns this fall — and we’re not just talking about the beard Kevin James is sporting in this first on-set photo. New series regular Leah Remini, who is (essentially) replacing former leading lady Erinn Hayes, posted an image to Instagram late Friday night of her and her former King of Queens hubby.
“It’s been an amazing first week on Kevin Can Wait, so blessed that I had my family with me,” Remini said in the caption. “Thank you to all who came out tonight, cast, crew, writers, thank you for the love!”
As TVLine first reported, Hayes, who portrayed James’ wife Donna in Season 1, will not be returning for Season 2. Instead, “the character will have passed away,” Thom Sherman, CBS’ Senior Exec VP of Programming, revealed at CBS’ portion of the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. What’s more, the second season will begin with a time jump (but not too much of a time jump; daughter Kendra is still in the wedding planning stages when the show returns.) CBS’ entertainment president Kelly Kahl later added that Donna’s death “will be addressed tastefully” and “with dignity and respect.”
For her part, Remini will reprise her role as Vanessa Cellucci, Kevin’s ex-police partner who was first introduced in the two-part Season 1 finale.
Kevin Can Wait Season 2 premieres on Monday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c. Will you be tuning in for Remini’s first episode as a series regular? (View additional photos of your favorite TV stars back at work in the attached gallery above.)