Erinn Hayes and Kevin Can Wait have permanently parted ways. On the heels of the shocking firing of the Kevin Can Wait matriarch earlier this summer, CBS executives further explained the move at the recent Television Critics Association panel in Beverly Hills. CBS execs revealed that Hayes’ character, Donna Gable, will be killed off of the Kevin James sitcom. James’ former King of Queens co-star, Leah Remini, has been signed as a regular on Kevin Can Wait after a successful “stunt” guest stint on the two-part Season 1 finale.
CBS programming boss Thom Sherman explained the reasoning behind the shocking decision to kill off Erinn Hayes’ Donna character. According to Variety, the CBS exec said Kevin Can Wait producers considered a divorce or a move for Hayes’ character but ultimately decided that killing her off was the best way to go.
“The discussions went on,” Sherman revealed.
“We talked about other things. Ultimately this was what was decided with the producers that this was the best way to move forward.”
All along, Kevin Can Wait insiders have said Erinn Hayes’ firing had nothing to do with her performance as Kevin James’ wife. Instead, CBS brass claimed the decision to let Erinn go was simply due to the fact that the show was going in a different creative direction.
But in a double blow, CBS president Kelly Kahl told Variety that Erinn Hayes didn’t have any say in the way her character would be written off the show. Some Kevin Can Wait fans were not happy with how Hayes was treated by producers of the show that she helped score a second season.
@hayeslady Hi Erin Kevin James is quoted as saying you both had no chemistry together. Every person who watched the show would disagree.
— Vinny Peters (@vin299) August 4, 2017
— Sporadically Rude (@nosympathy82) August 1, 2017
Justice for Erinn Hayes.
— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) August 1, 2017
While her fans are outraged over CBS’ shocking decision to kill off mom-of-three Donna Gable, Erinn Hayes has not publicly commented on the impending death of her Kevin Can Wait character. The actress has been careful not to badmouth the show or Leah Remini, the woman who will fill her shoes as Kevin James’ leading lady. Instead, Hayes posted a regal photo to Instagram, making to clear that she will be just fine.
“My husband said, ‘Be majestic.’ Nailed it,” Erinn wrote.
Kevin Can Wait fans knew that Erinn Hayes would not be returning for the show’s second season — the actress confirmed the surprising news in June with a classy tweet that made it clear her departure was not her idea — but no one expected the CBS comedy to go in such a morbid direction.
“True, I’ve been let go from the show,” Hayes tweeted in June. “Very sad, I had a great experience season 1. Thank you for all the support from our wonderful fans.”
While Kevin James will now be a widower on Kevin Can Wait, Hayes will be in a similar situation in her next role. According to Deadline, Erinn Hayes has landed a starring role in the upcoming Amazon comedy The Dangerous Book for Boys. Hayes will play a widow named Beth in the six-episode series based on the bestselling book of the same name.
Take a look at the video below to see Erinn Hayes’ last big scene on Kevin Can Wait, in which she, ironically, quits her job after being passed up for a promotion at work.
[Featured Image by Jeff Neumann/CBS]