'Kevin Can Wait': Will killing Erinn Hayes' Donna help season 2 ratings?

Producer and writer Chuck Lorre and actress Kaley Cuoco pose at the 4th annual Critics' Choice Television Awards in Beverly Hills California

CBS President Kelly Kahl confirmed that the second season will time-jump about nine or ten months and reconnect with the TV family after they have had some time to mourn the loss of their mother and wife.

Hayes' departure from the series after Season 1 was announced in June after show runners chose to take the comedy in a different direction.

In the season finale, James' retired cop character returned to the force to work an undercover case with his former partner, Vanessa Cellucci, played by Remini.

The network previously announced that Erinn Hayes was exiting her role as James' wife Donna.

Technically speaking, "the character will have passed away" is how CBS Senior Executive VP of Programming Thom Sherman described the situation. "Obviously the chemistry [between James and Remini] was wonderful in the stunt episodes", he said.

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When the CBS sitcom Kevin Can Wait returns next season it will manage to look very different and yet very familiar at the same time.

"I think when everybody collectively saw how Leah and Kevin were together in those last couple of episodes, there was an undeniable spark there", said Kahl. Kahl noted that Remini wasn't originally brought in to see if she might replace Hayes; but after seeing the dynamic between her and James, the network and studio "wanted to keep that magic and chemistry going forward". "It will be treated with dignity and respect and the show will move forward".

Remini's appearances on the show were as a stunt, not a tryout, Kahl said. They are banking on the team-up's familiarity as Remini and Kevin James used to lead another CBS comedy, "King of Queens".

"True, I've been let go from the show", she tweeted back in June. "Exceptionally miserable, I had an extraordinary ordeal season 1".

Kevin Can Wait Season 2 will air on Global in Fall 2017 on Monday nights at 8 p.m (ET).

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