Kevin Can Wait is an affable-enough sitcom. It stars Kevin James as a retired police officer with a kooky family and the standard loving, level-headed wife, played by Erinn Hayes. But it’s been revealed that Hayes’ character is meeting a strange fate for a sitcom, due largely to behind-the-scenes tinkering.
At issue is Leah Remini. In a bit of stunt casting, the show brought in Remini for its first season finale as a former colleague of Kevin’s, and unexpectedly took the night in terms of ratings for a scripted series. Remini was quickly added as a series regular, which essentially left both Hayes and Remini filling the female lead role. The solution, apparently, is to kill off Hayes’ character and then jump forward in time a bit.
Hayes’ departure was already known, but it wasn’t clear just how that was going to happen. It’s an odd choice for a number of reasons, not the least of which is, uh, it’s kind of a huge bummer. Usually sitcoms don’t take such a grim step unless they’re forced to, usually by the actor passing away in real life. It also creates an odd dissonance; a show about a retired cop, his detective friend, and his dead wife isn’t usually a sitcom, as a quick browsing of TVTropes will tell you. So maybe a better idea is to give Hayes her own show: