Look, Kevin waited as long as he possibly could, but eventually there came a time when Erinn Hayes’s Kevin Can Wait matriarch Donna Grable had to go. In a recent interview with the New York Daily News, Kevin James admits that the death of Hayes’s character, briefly acknowledged in the series’ season-two opener and referenced occasionally throughout, was a narrative necessity designed to give the series new life. “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,” he explained. “Now, I have to deal with my daughter in a different way, and she’s gonna go to college, or one’s getting married, or the holidays. And it deals with things in a different, weightier way.”
According to the CBS star, the initial iteration of the show actually featured his character as a single dad. In a way, Donna’s death acted as a reset button to align the show with its original premise. “The plot of the show didn’t have enough drive” as is, says James. “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.”
Of course, Kevin won’t have to wait too much longer (for love), now that James’s King of Queens co-star Leah Remini has joined Kevin Can Wait as a series regular. In an even more interesting twist, James says the show may or may not offer any further explanation of Donna’s unspecified cause of death. Which means … wow, Kevin, if you want to know, you might have to wait forever. You love waiting! Boy, this show really knows how to give Kevins what they want.