Kevin James is finally speaking out about why his CBS sitcom 'Kevin Can Wait 'made the odd decision to kill off a main character after just one season.
In June, TV Line reported that Erinn Hayes — who played Donna Gable, the wife of James’s character — would not be back for Season 2 of the sitcom because the show was “heading in a new creative direction”.
The news followed CBS’s announcement that Leah Remini, who starred opposite James in the long-running sitcom 'King Of Queens', had been added as a series regular.
Now James says that killing off Hayes’s character was necessary to keep the sitcom going.
“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.”
That’s a pretty stunning admission for James, one of the show’s co-creators, to make. Traditional sitcoms have existed for years without major shake-ups to the central family.
And the comedy’s handling of Donna’s death has been unconventional - when Season 2 premiered last month, 'Kevin Can Wait' had jumped forward a year, with Kevin Gables making a blink-and-you-missed-it reference to how much he missed his wife. Four episodes in, we still don’t know how Donna died.
“Now, I have to deal with my daughter in a different way, and she’s gonna go to college, or one’s getting married, or the holidays,” James explained. “And it deals with things in a different, weightier way.”