Kevin James Explains Erinn Hayes’s Kevin Can Wait Character Death: ‘We Were Literally Just Running Out of Ideas’

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Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

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.

Kevin James Explains Erinn Hayes’s Kevin Can Wait Death