'Kevin Can Wait' Executive Producer Talks Decision to Kill off Donna

Kevin Can Wait shocked fans when it was revealed that the sitcom would be killing off star Kevin James' onscreen wife, Donna, played by Erinn Hayes, after just one season, and the show's executive producer Rob Long opened up to TVLine about the CBS sitcom's game-changing decision.

“The goal was to give Kevin’s character a real drive and a real predicament [involving] how a family comes back together [after tragedy],” Long explained. “Also, out of respect for the character of Donna — and certainly the way that Erinn Hayes portrayed her — it seemed like the only right and fair way to treat her character.”

As for whether the show could focus solely on Kevin's career and let Donna live offscreen, Long shot down the suggestion, explaining that the “nucleus of the idea” was “Kevin being a single father… [We] were really attracted” to watching the character “learn how to do all of the stuff” that comes with being a single parent to multiple children.

Donna's death was confirmed at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, with Thom Sherman, Senior Exec VP of Programming, saying, “The character will have passed away," via TVLine. Sherman added that the show's second season will begin with a small time jump.


Leah Remini will join the show's cast in Season 2 as a series regular after appearing in multiple episodes during the first season. Remini and James previously played a married couple on the hit CBS sitcom The King of Queens.

Photo Credit: CBS