CBS comedy series Kevin Can Wait ended its first season with a casting shakeup, with Leah Remini replacing original female lead Erinn Hayes.
Hayes played Kevin James’ wife Donna on Kevin Can Wait. In light of her exit, “the character will have passed away, and we will be moving forward in time catching up at a later date,” CBS’ EVP Thom Sherman said during the network’s TCA session, indicating that the comedy will undergo a time jump between the seasons.
Asked after the panel whether Hayes had a say in the way her character was written off the show, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said “no.”
Hayes confirmed her exit from the show via tweet in June.
Remini’s casting as a series regular on Kevin Can Wait came after James’ former King Of Queens co-star appeared in the Season 1 finale as the tough, wise-cracking undercover police woman Vanessa Cellucci.
With James and Remini back together, will Kevin Can Wait morph into The King of Queens next season? “I think the show stands for itself,” Kahl said of Kevin. “Obviously the chemistry was amazing in the stunt episode, so we decided to continue this chemistry.”
Kevin Can Wait ranked as this past season’s No. 1 new comedy in total viewers (9.19 million) and adults 18-49 (2.1 rating). It returns to the air September 25 in the 9 PM Monday slot.
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