Erinn Hayes’ Character to Be Killed Off ‘Kevin Can Wait’ to Make Room for Leah Remini

Kevin Can Wait CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Earlier this summer, CBS decided not to bring Erinn Hayes back for the second season of “Kevin Can Wait,” and then cast Kevin James’ former TV wife, Leah Remini, in a series regular role.

On Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour, CBS executives revealed that Hayes’ character will be killed off, in order to handle the casting shakeup.

“The character will have passed away and we will be moving forward in time catching up at a later date,” CBS programming boss Thom Sherman explained of the storyline, speaking at TCA, held in Beverly Hills, Calif.

When asked by a reporter if “Kevin Can Wait” is “morphing” into ‘King of Queens’ by reuniting James and Remini — who guest starred on the Season 1 finale of “Kevin Can Wait” — Sherman answered, “No, don’t think so. I think the show speaks for itself and stands for itself. Obviously the chemistry between Kevin and Leah was amazing in the stunt episode we did at the end of last season, and we decided we want to continue that.”

When Remini appeared in the Season 1 finale, she played Vanessa Cellucci, an undercover cop and the former partner of James’ retired cop character. She will reprise that same role as a series regular in Season 2. Remini and James co-starred on “King of Queens” for nine seasons from 1998-2006 on CBS.


Leah Remini Kevin James

Leah Remini Joins ‘Kevin Can Wait’ Season 2

In June when news broke that Hayes would not be returning for Season 2 of “Kevin Can Wait,” Hayes said she was “very sad” and confirmed that the departure was not her call, tweeting, “True, I’ve been let go from the show. Very sad, I had a great experience season 1. Thank you for all the support from our wonderful fans.”

At the time, sources told Variety the decision was based on a different creative direction, and was not a reflection of Hayes’ performance.

At TCA today, when Variety asked CBS president Kelly Kahl if Hayes had any say in the way her character would be written off the show, he replied, “No, I don’t think so.”

Speaking with a small group of reporters immediately after his panel with Kahl, Sherman also addressed the decision to kill of the Donna character, rather than write her off in a different way, such as divorce or a move in location. “The discussions went on,” Sherman explained. “We talked about other things. Ultimately this what was decided with the producers that this was the best way to move forward.”

Kahl explained that “Kevin Can Wait” will have a nine or ten month time-jump when the show returns so that the TV family can have some time to cope with the death of their mother and wife. Kahl also confirmed that all of the kids will be back for Season 2.

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  1. Laurie Koppes says:

    I think they’ve mafe a huge mistake. Better story lines, better writing could have saved the show. I did watch, and I liked Erin. Turning it into another King of Queens is ridiculous. That was a good show…in it’s day. It’s over. They should have figured out how to fix the show, not killed off the mom. I don’t think I’ll be watching any more.

  2. Lucy says:

    I do not like Remini in the show/ Why the change? Were the ratings that bad? Was Remini begging to get another acting spot? Her role in the old sit-com always rubbed me the wrong way. I did not like her.
    I saw the new KEVIN this week and that same negative anti-Remini feeling came up. It is her voice, her personality and the negativity that she exudes. No more KEVIN for me.

  3. Sophia lee says:

    So glad to see them back together! Now I will actually watch the show!!!

  4. Joyce Van Zile says:

    I think it’s very wrong to do that, I liked the character Donna. I will never watch Kevin van wait again. You made the wring choice

  5. Blah says:

    That’s horrible. Leah had her time. Move on. I won’t be watching this show.

  6. sandy says:

    Can’t stand Leah. I guess I won’t be watching “Kevin Can Wait”!

  7. Joey says:

    Kevin and Leah are the best can’t wait to see them back together on tv bring back jerry stiller he is 90 and in good health. Make the show king of queens continued!! Will be watching Sept.25 at 9pm.

  8. Catherine Kimball says:

    Thank God they got rid of Erinn. The woman was as droll as a tree stump. Absolutely no acting talent at all. Was surprised they got renewed until I heard the dead beat wasn’t returning. Leah Remini may be loud and obnoxious, but she can act. And her and Kevin James “feel” natural with each other. Hope the future son-in-law is back, though. That guy is funny.

  9. Cindy says:

    OMG! Why would they fire Erinn and bring in loud-mouth Leah? Didn’t like her on Queens; not going to watch her on Kevin. Ruined a cute little comedy that I enjoyed watching. Hope it gets cancelled FAST!

  10. Pat says:

    Can’t wait for kevin can wait great show kevin is so FUNNY and talented and Leah has the look and talent the rest of the cast is not good but maybe ok. bring back jerry stiller !!!

  11. Bill says:

    Sad, James is not that funny as he thinks. The other characters make that show. Remini is okay, but she had a bad face lift. It is hard to watch her lips, they are so fake. Who else is going to die on this dying show?

  12. none says:

    what a bummer poor Erinn and do not like Leah, she just thinks she so hot, but she’s not, I will not
    watch the show and also I hear Kevin James does not like his fans, so maybe he will like it if he has

  13. Pete says:

    I loved this new Kevin James show. Kevin and Erinn had great chemistry. Replacing Erinn with Leah is wrong. Kevin and Leah we’re great together 10 years ago. This is a bad move. Out of respect for Erinn, I won’t watch any longer.

  14. shara jones says:

    Isn’t the death of a mother character overdone and worn out (Bambi, Land Before Time, every other disney movie with a stepmother character, Full House, etc)? Such a stupid way to handle what is supposed to be a comedy. Not watching season 2. Better shows coming out this fall.

  15. Howard Robins says:

    It is like watching king of queens part 2 Kevin is stupid and allows Leah to control his life this sit com is doomed

  16. craig L wagner says:

    I can do without Leah Remini. Her personal life is a mess. She probably bullied her way in the show

  17. Mary Cairns says:

    Erin. Leah. Not the problem. James is not funny

    • John says:

      Mary Kevin James is not funny what planet to you live on. What kind of comedians do you like the ones that have to curse to get a laugh. He is very funny and I hope his new show with Leah becomes a big hit. We need comedians like him on tv .

  18. Elio Evangelista says:

    Dumb idea. These types of changes in “creative direction” never go well. This show was good in season 1 and really could have built on that to be better in future seasons. I give this show 1 more season before it’s cancelled.

  19. Calvin Shumaker says:

    Can you say jump the shark? Words can’t express how bad this idea is?

  20. jezmyopinion says:

    Weren’t getting ratings so they just remade King of Queens on a different set, minus Arthur. Won’t last. I give it 5, 4, 3, 2,…..

  21. Rhonda Wi says:

    Good decision! I am so happy The old Carrie will be rejoining him in this new sitcom! Yeah, kill her off and return in 10 months. I watched the show twice and told my husband it seemed weird with new spouse! Show did not interest me but I will watch it. I always loved those two together! Good decision!!!!

  22. Vincent Rizzo says:

    Kevin can wait.. Leah Remini should just become the wife and take it from there… Many sitcoms have replaced spouses….Remember Bewitched…different Darren and it still worked. Killing off Kevins wife not necessary..not really a big fan of the show…maybe Leah Remini will help to make it work.

    Kevin James and Leah Remini were great in King of Queens…not sure this will make it!

  23. Gregg Innes says:

    BAD move to kill off the wife and mom in a sitcom.
    The show sucked anyways, the only reason for renewal was Kevin James being the star.
    Fire the writers!!!!!!!
    Thank god SUPERGIRL has a new season at the same time to watch.

  24. Montye Neas says:

    I think they should just take the show off. It is dumb to kill a character off of a sitcom. The show isn’t very good anyway. They might as well restart King of Queens instead of keeping this show.

  25. Mike says:

    Everybody seems to forget this show was going down in the ratings and probably on it’s way to being canceled so they had to fire erin Hayes because she was dragging the show down very boring actress and stiff not funny or edgy so they had to go in another direction to save the show and Leah is the direction they choose. So if they keep erin it probably would be cancelled and you would not be watching it this season . Leah is edgy and totally more talented and funnier than erinn Hayes ever will be, she is a better actress than erinn Hayes. Good luck to Leah and kevin on there new show, to me season 1 starts September 25 at 8pm.

  26. What Leah Reini can’t rely on her on talent as an actress to get her own job. So she has to take someone else’s? Well what Kevin James and her are doing is not only dirty, but also really sorry ! But what goes around, comes around. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Sure neither Leah or Kevin would like it, if they was treated this way.

  27. Vikki says:

    I was disappointed in Kevin Can Wait because Leah Remini was not on it and it was not King of Queens. Then I became accustomed to Erin Hays’ character and liked the show. I realized I liked it because she was nice just as I liked that Leah was mean. I liked that they were trying to get money for their daughters’ wedding. Also because it was moral. Then Leah Remini came back for the season finale and seemed so mean and petty. I am really disappointed and killing off the wife is not comedy. I will watch it to see how it turns out.

  28. Peter says:

    Erin Hayes can’t act she is not funny how in the world did she ever get work on tv , who does she no. Leah is the best great talent and has the look. I am surprised they could not find a good comedy show for her on tv with quality actors around her. Now back with Kevin the show will be a hit comedy show. everybody tune in Sept. 25th you will Not be bored anymore. erin don’t let the door hit you on the way out by by.

  29. Jennifer Tedford says:

    Very disappointed. I think Erinn Hayes was great opposite James. I was not impressed by the season finale/return of Leah Remini. Very disappointed. Just going to be more of King of Queens, whose time has passed.

  30. Kessia says:

    Reading some of comments makes me think that they are some of Leah’s former friends in Scientology. I think it is weird that she is going on the show, though.

  31. Well, Kevin Can Wait is a terrible show and I’m sorry, the character played by Erin Hayes brought nothing to the show. I’m a huge fan of KIng of Queens and I was really disappointed to see how awful Kevin Can Wait is. Horrible writing, terrible supporting cast – it just isn’t funny or endearing. Don’t think Leah Remini can save this dog of a show though – I won’t bother watching it, even with Leah Remini. I’ll just stick with King of Queens reruns.

  32. Tracy says:

    Worst idea ever!!! She was a great show host the family was a wonderful blend She brought a lot to the show. She will be dearly missed, what a horrible decision you guys make!!!

  33. David says:

    The reason why king of queens was a hit was because of Leah character so stop with she is mean, it’s a show to make you laugh after a hard day of work. The reason why erin Hayes is getting fired is because she is boring on tv not funny at all her character is not edgy. So if the people on this board can’t handle Leah character go find a Disney channel to watch. Kevin can wait will now be a hit with Leah on the show every week. Watch and learn what makes a tv show a hit. Kevin and Leah work great together

  34. Carol says:

    I watch The King of Queens while it was on. However after a while I couldn’t take how mean Leah’s part was. If her character stays the same a sarcastic mean person it will be definitely King of Queens II. To be quite honest as much as I like Kevin James I will not be watching the show anymore. I am already scouting out the other channels at the same time

  35. Paul says:

    Erin Hayes can’t act where Did they find her horrible. Leah should have been the wife in the beginning but they probably shyed away because it would have reminded people of king of queens. They should bring back king of queens with jerry stiller who is 91 years old but in good health. Just continue from the last episode. I still will watch kevin can wait because Leah is a talented actress and will definitely bring back life to this the ratings jump.

  36. Patty Hickox says:

    Replaceing Erin Hayes was the wrong thing to do, changing the storeline to suit Kevin James what up with that i used to like Kevin James but not after this move , i know your saying it was not his fault. But he has a say so on his show who stays and goes the Net Work has to bow down to him . well we will not be watching this show any more . I wish Erin hayes the Best of luck she is a great Actress.

  37. Cynthia says:

    This change was due to low ratings and nothing else. The problem was Kevin James. He was still acting like Doug Heffernan. He can’t do any other character apparently. Bringing Leah on board might save the show for a few seasons but it’s doomed.

  38. Sharon Ciarallo says:

    This is horrible… I think Erin Hayes is much better than Leah remini. You just lost this watcher.

  39. I am so glad that Leah is coming to the show. I still watch all of the reruns of King of Queens because I love their chemistry. I will watch the show now!!!


  41. Mr Opinion says:

    Silly decision. I’ll give it a chance but I have doubts that I’ll like it. Loved King of Queens but this is not that show

  42. Ellen Duty says:

    Why make a comment if it may be edited?
    And…I am very mad about the way the show is going! I am no longer excited for the show to come on. It used to be one of my favorite shows.
    Done and over with.

  43. ML says:

    With King of Queens, I was bored as Leah’s character just got mean. This decision has ended my interest in this decision. Bad taste to kill off a character that worked to try to recreate something that already was, No thanks….

  44. Colleen says:

    i love Kevin James, enjoyed him in King of Queens and wanted to give his new show a chance, but after watching two episodes i could no longer subject myself. it was painful to watch.
    now that Leah is coming back, i will be tuning in.

    i like leah’s feisty and no nonsense attitude. She has also brought a much needed awareness to a horrific religious cult. i like her as her own person.

    leah and Kevin a perfect pair meant to be a tv couple for as long as they
    can keep it alive.

  45. Donna says:

    I will not watch Kevin Can Wait anymore Kevin should be the one dying he the one that’s over weight and out of shape. Leah Demi isn’t any better with that squeeze voice of her and her stories of Scientology that has brought her back in the publicists view nobody thought of her a year ago keep her off the show would be the best. A very upset viewer who you just lost

    • Sam says:

      Looks like most of the women talking here are just jealous of Leah and wish they could be her, she has both looks and talent eat a bowl of ice cream ladies!! Go Leah!!

  46. I feel bad for the dead wife. But Midway to last season I stopped recording and watching this show. It got a little boring. And I do not like hearing anything religious in my comedy. Keep imaginary deities to yourselves.
    I just hit record again and I am looking forward to watching Leah.
    Can’t wait. They will probably fall in love and marry. Yay!
    They should bring back the old man from king of queens for a few episodes.

  47. Ann says:

    This is horrible, horrible, horrible!!! Won’t be watching the new show. Love Donna as Kevin’s wife. Also, love the Catholic side to this program…very refreshing! Hope you reconsider!!!

  48. Lynda Holland says:

    Leah is going to kill the series.

  49. Lana Bednarowicz says:

    I for one will no longer watch this show because of the fact that you killed off Kevin’s wife. I never liked Leah Remi in her last show with him so I will not be watching it. Just freeze up some of my time to watch something else. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way. Please reconsider

  50. asdf says:

    They should have simply replaced the actress who played Donna with Leah. Actors are often replaced with others in TV series without problem. Making Kevin and Leah play husband and wife again would have made the series.

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