The bigger shock however, came earlier today, as the sophomore sitcom announced that it's taking a page out of the drama handbook and killing the character off.
That's right, Kevin Can Wait will be killing Donna, Kevin's wife, heading into Season 2.
On Tuesday, at the Television Critics Association's press tour, CBS Senior Executive VP of programming Thom Sherman was asked about how Hayes' departure was going to be handled on the show.
"The character will have passed away, and we will be moving forward in time, catching up at a later date," Sherman said.
How does that work?
In an effort to keep the transition simple, and keep the show comedic rather than tragic, the new season of Kevin Can Wait will feature a time jump.
When the show begins this fall, viewers will jump back into the story down the road, after Donna has already died.
With this in mind, the family has probably gone through some of the grieving process, leaving room to move forward.
Donna may be gone, but it looks like she will still have a profound impact on the characters in Season 2.
Why kill Donna?
The first season of Kevin Can Wait was very successful, so getting rid of one of the stars was a curious decision.
Leah Remini, who starred as James' wife on King of Queens, had a guest appearance in the Season 1 finale. Shortly after, Remini was promoted to series regular status for Season 2. The move essentially kicked Hayes to the curb.
With an apparent wife-swap underway, fans began wondering how the show would write around Donna's absence. It seems like her death was the easiest option.
Some claimed that the series is just aiming to be another King of Queens, now that they've put James and Remini back together.
Sherman was asked about that notion as well, but he says that Kevin Can Wait stands on its own.
"No, I don't think so. I think the show speaks for itself and stands for itself. Obviously the chemistry [between James and Remini] was amazing in the stunt episodes," he said.
What's next for Erinn Hayes?
While the fans were hurt by this move, no one was affected quite like Hayes. After all, she lost what seemed like an incredibly safe job.
Not to worry, Hayes has already landed on her feet.
Last month, it was announced that the actress had nabbed a starring role in an upcoming Amazon original series from Bryan Cranston.0comments
The show is called The Dangerous Book for Boys and it's about three boys dealing with the loss of their father.
Hayes will play widowed mother Beth, and she will star alongside Chris Diamantopoulos.