CBS finally explained how "Kevin Can Wait" will handle Erinn Hayes exit as Donna in Season 2. Kelly Kahl, the network's president of entertainment, revealed during the Television Critics Association panel Tuesday that the character will be killed off.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the death of Donna will be expounded in the premiere episode of "Kevin Can Wait" Season 2. Then the show will have a jump in the timeline, which will pave the way for Leah Remini's character, Vanessa Celluci, to become a permanent leading lady for Kevin James, who plays the retired cop Kevin Gable.

Remini's stunt casting sparked chemistry

Kahl further revealed in the panel that Leah Remini was originally invited to appear in the "Kevin Can Wait" Season 1 two-part finale last May as a stunt casting, as shows often do. It worked out well for the show in terms of the actors' obvious chemistry as they pretended to be a married couple while going undercover for the police. Hence, producers decided to make the actress a permanent part of the second season.

But since Erinn Hayes played Kevin’s wife, a creative decision had to be made. Kahl, however, made it clear that they did not discount Hayes’ contribution on "Kevin Can Wait" and replacing her wasn't part of the original plan. Only, they also could not ignore the obvious.

"When everybody collectively saw how Leah and Kevin were together in those last couple episodes, there was an undeniable spark there," the CBS executive told the panel.

Remini's addition made a small dent in ratings

But an analysis from TV by the Numbers stated that Leah Remini's guest appearances in Season 1 didn't pull the show's ratings up in a big way.

"Kevin Can Wait" averaged 6.17 million viewers per week and when the actress appeared on the show, the episode earned 5.97 million viewers. It, however, held its viewers' demographic steady.

CBS executives are hopeful that "Kevin Can Wait" Season 2 will pick up its numbers now that Leah Remini will be a series regular and not just a guest.

They are banking on the team-up's familiarity as Remini and Kevin James used to lead another CBS comedy, “King of Queens.”

What’s next for Erinn Hayes?

Meanwhile, following her firing on the show, Erinn Hayes will star in “The Dangerous Book for Boys” on Amazon. She will play the widowed mother of three boys who honor their father’s legacy and life lessons based on a book he left for his sons.

"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston is developing the show with "Superbad" director Greg Mottola. Erinn Hayes will be joined by Gabriel Bateman and Drew Logan Powell as her sons, but the role of the third boy has not yet been cast as of press time.

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