“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
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