The Kevin James comedy Kevin Can Wait may not have been on your radar least season, but a finesse-free brand of sitcom retooling for season 2 is making folks take notice.
"Kevin Can Wait" averaged 6.17 million viewers per week and when the actress appeared on the show, the episode earned 5.97 million viewers. I don't believe there was any thought toward [having her replace Hayes as the female lead]. Sherman noted that the show would jump forward in time in season two, in which James will be reunited with his "King of Queens" co-star, Leah Remini, who is joining the cast as a regular.
In the Season 1 finale, retired cop Kevin temporarily returned to the force as part of an ongoing undercover operation with former partner Vanessa Cellucci (played by Remini). USA Today reports the second season of the hit show will be retooled, meaning they're killing off Kevin's wife "to make room" for a character played by Leah Remini. "Kevin, the studios and the network all got together and wanted to keep that magic and chemistry going forward. I don't want to address it until we see eventually what's on tape in the first episode". After the case was closed, Kevin came home to his wife and learned that Donna has quit her job as a school nurse.
Remini and James have a past working together on set and starred alongside each other from 1998 to 2006 on King of Queens. Known for clashing with the show's producers, Remini was sacked from the show after one season. Although Remini played a detective in just a handful of episodes last season, producers really felt that the chemistry between James and Remini was palpable - as it always has been - and they made a decision to remove Hayes from the upcoming credits altogether.