Kevin James is finally opening up about why Erinn Hayes’s character Donna, his TV wife on Kevin Can Wait, was suddenly killed off.
The actor, 52, told the New York Daily News that the decision was not because he or anyone else had a problem with Hayes – it was because they were out of storyline ideas.
“I get that people are like ‘Whoa, why would you do this?’ But it really felt like a thing like this was needed for this show to drive forward,” James said.
James explained he was originally meant to portray a single father on the show, but that he and producers ultimately decided to write in a wife and three children. For the show to have a life beyond one or two seasons, James said the tone of the show had to shift.
“The plot of the show didn’t have enough drive,” James said. “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.”
Leah Remini was announced as a series regular in June, solidifying her and James’ onscreen reunion since their days on The King of Queens.
Remini confirmed the news on her own Instagram, sharing an image of the news headline.
With Remini’s casting confirmed, Hayes announced that she would not be returning for the second season in a Tweet.
“True, I’ve been let go from the show,” she wrote. “Very sad, I had a great experience season 1. Thank you for all the support from our wonderful fans.”
Kevin Can Wait airs on CBS on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.