Kevin Can Wait is joining the ranks of This Is Us when it comes to mysterious deaths. On the heels of the announcement that Erinn Hayes’ Kevin Can Wait character, Donna Gable, will be killed off for the second season of the Kevin James sitcom, fans are wondering how the mom of three will die. James’ former King of Queens wife, Leah Remini, will join the cast of the show as Hayes’ Donna departs for good.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association panel in Beverly Hills, CBS executives broke the news that Hayes’ character will die off-camera ahead of the second season of Kevin Can Wait. One journalist tweeted that there were “noticeable groans” from the TCA audience when it was revealed that Hayes’ character will be killed off.
CBS entertainment president Kelly Kahl revealed he has already seen the first few scripts of Kevin Can Wait’s second season, which will start with a “nine- or ten-month” time jump. Kahl promised that Donna Gable’s death will be addressed “tastefully” and that it would help to move the series forward, but he admitted that the death of a wife and mother is not a funny storyline.
“I’m not sure we can make that hilarious,” he said.
“It will be treated with dignity and respect and the show will move forward. It’s something that will have taken place in the past. I don’t want to address it until we see eventually what’s on tape in the first episode.”
CBS confirmed that Erinn Hayes had no say in how her character will be killed off. But fans already have some tongue-in-cheek theories about how Donna will go out.
No matter how her demise plays out, the death of Donna is undeniably shocking as fans wonder why producers decided to go with an irreversible write-off for Erinn Hayes, whom they say did nothing wrong and was just a casualty of a “new creative direction” for Kevin Can Wait.
While Hayes presumably did not clash with James or producers, the shocking sitcom switch up brings to mind Valerie Harper’s exit from her self-titled 1980s sitcom, Valerie. Harper was killed off of her own show via a car crash after she butted heads with producers and demanded a raise. Valerie was subsequently revamped and retitled Valerie’s Family: The Hogans, before obliterating Harper’s memory completely with The Hogan Family.
And who can forget Charlie Sheen and his public war with Two and a Half Men boss Chuck Lorre? Sheen’s character was written off and replaced by Ashton Kutcher, with Lorre getting the last word in by dropping a piano on Sheen’s character’s head on the series finale.
Indeed, character write-offs aren’t always pretty, but in Kevin Can Wait’s case, it seems especially ugly.
[Featured Image by David M. Russell/CBS]