Leah Remini Responds to Angry ‘Kevin Can Wait’ Fans Over Death of Erinn Hayes’ Character

After Season 1 of Kevin Can Wait concluded, CBS announced that actress Erinn Hayes, who played Kevin’s (Kevin James) wife on the sitcom, would not be returning for Season 2. Showrunners then shocked fans by revealing that Hayes would be killed off the show.

Shortly before the news of Hayes’ exit broke, the network announced that Leah Remini, who previously guest starred on the show, had signed on as a series regular. Remini worked with James for years on the hit comedy, The King of Queens, and CBS was hoping pairing them again would be exactly what fans want.

However, when the Season 2 premiere of Kevin Can Wait aired, viewers weren’t exactly thrilled with how the death of Donna Gable was handled and attacked Remini for it. The actress clapped back via social media with a few tweets of her own. Here’s how it all went down.

Remini gets blame for CBS killing off Donna

Leah Remini standing with one hand on her hip while posing for photos on a red carpet.

Leah Remini | Neilson Barnard/iStock/Getty Images

Although executive producer Rob Long insisted that Hayes’ departure was due to creative and personal differences, some fans of the show still placed the blame squarely on Remini.

The reason for that was not only because of the timing of when she was promoted to series regular, but also because CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl admitted, “When everybody collectively saw how Leah and Kevin worked together in those last couple of episodes, there was just an undeniable spark there. Kevin, the studio [Sony] and the network wanted to keep that magic and chemistry going forward.”

Season 2 premiere sparked angry tweets

Donna and Kevin stand in their kitchen having a conversation.

Kevin Can Wait | CBS

The Season 2 premiere did briefly mention Donna’s death. However, the episode did not give specifics of how she died. The episode took place a year after her character had passed away, and there were only a few sparse references about the death here and there during the show.

This left a number of viewers feeling unsatisfied, and some of them went straight to Remini with their frustrations about the script.

Remini said even she doesn’t know if we’ll find out how Donna died

When a fan questioned if we’ll ever know how Donna actually died, Remini explained that she didn’t have the answer because she’s not one of the writers or producers of the show.

She responded to viewer who wished for the sitcom’s cancellation

After another viewer said that she hoped Kevin Can Wait would be taken off the air due to their handling of the character’s death, the actress had some words for her and even tied in a plug of her other show, Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath.

She clapped back after another fan attacked her

A viewer who decided to attack the star and call her “classless” learned that Remini would not take that criticism lying down. The actress clapped back with the above tweet, saying, “I didn’t make that decision.”

She praised Hayes and thought they would be working together again

When another fan tweeted that she preferred Remini over Hayes, Remini praised her fellow actress and revealed that she thought they would be working together again and had been “looking forward” to it.

She also informed those who were wondering that Hayes has a new gig on an Amazon show.

Remini thanked fans who have welcomed her back

For all the negative tweets, there were also plenty of positive tweets from fans who were happy to see Remini and James together on the small screen again.

After she responded to those not-so-nice tweets, Remini thanked everyone who supported having her back on the show.

Kevin Can Wait airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

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