Kevin Can Wait Is Killing Off Its TV Wife to Make Way for Leah Remini

Season 2 will begin with a time jump

Erinn Hayes announced in June that she had been let go from Kevin Can Wait, one day after Leah Remini joined the cast. CBS
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Since Kevin Can Wait debuted last fall, people have wondered who in fact Kevin—played by Kevin James—was waiting for. It turns out that it might have been the demise of his TV wife.

During new CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl’s contentious session with reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, execs revealed that the sitcom will be killing off James’ TV wife, played by Erinn Hayes. When it returns for Season 2 on Sept. 25, the show will feature a time jump.

“The character will pass away and we will be moving in time,” said Thom Sherman, CBS Entertainment’s senior evp of programming. Kahl later said that the death will be “addressed tastefully … with dignity and respect.”

This will seemingly pave the way for Leah Remini, James’ former TV spouse on The King of Queens, who will be joining the show full-time after appearing in two episodes late in Season 1. Her character, Vanessa Cellucci, is a cop who used to work with James’ now-retired character on the force.

One day after producers announced in early June that Remini would join the show full-time in Season 2, Hayes revealed on Twitter that she had been let go. Producers had been tight-lipped about how the show would deal with her departure.

The King of Queens wrapped in 2007 after nine seasons on the air. Sherman said that Remini’s addition doesn’t mean that Kevin Can Wait is turning into that series, explaining that the current show “speaks for itself and stands for itself” and the network wanted to continue the “chemistry” between James and Remini that existed in the season finale.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.