How Leah Remini And Erinn Hayes Reacted To The Big Kevin Can Wait Cast Change

leah remini on kevin can wait's finale
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of CBS)

The gods of television say that when one window closes on the family home set of a hit sitcom, a door opens up, thus allowing someone else to walk through and take the place of the person who left through the window. Kevin Can Wait experienced just such a casting shake-up, with reports that star Erinn Hayes was being pushed out of the show while Kevin James' former King of Queens co-star Leah Remini was being added as a Season 2 regular. Let's look at how each of the principle players here reacted to the news. First up, the newbie:

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Leah Remini followed up her King of Queens run with a somewhat surprising capitalization of fame within unscripted television, both as a part of The Talk and as the center of series such as Leah Remini: It's All Relative and the super-successful Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. But on the scripted side of things, she hasn't been quite so lucky, with limited stints for shows like The Exes, Family Tools, In the Motherhood and more. If the actress has indeed been dreaming about re-finding her footing as a sitcom queen, then reteaming with Kevin James is a good bet, considering Kevin Can Wait had the highest viewership of any new TV show last season. Her involvement in the two-part finale didn't bring audiences en masse, but next season is waiting.

Now, the ousted Erinn Hayes.

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Quite the diplomatic response from comedic actress Erinn Hayes, whose career is full of one-season shows and pilots that failed to get ordered, though it's not for a lack of anything on the actress' part. (Her talents are easily viewable on projects that did last a while, such as Childrens Hospital.) She did seem to have a pretty sizable fanbase on Kevin Can Wait, too, as part of the Internet's response to the big switch-up has been in Hayes' corner, with some insulted viewers claiming they won't be watching anymore because of it.

Time will obviously tell how things really play out, especially after the show starts advertising with Leah Remini front and center. And you KNOW that CBS is going to majorly play up the King of Queens reunion as much as possible, while quietly working in all the plot changes and explanations necessary for Donna's absence and Vanessa's permanent fixture. In fact, Kevin James himself seemed to be making an overt reference to his future with Remini in a recent Instagram post.

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Not that anything in the post's message ultimately refers to the actor's sitcom work, since he could easily be talking about dieting. But there can be no coincidences found in the cheese on said pizza spelling out "K of Q." I believe we can also agree that pizza would be pretty good right now.

It'll be interesting to pay attention to all things Kevin Can Wait for the rest of the summer as we make the long trek through the seasonal hiatus. To catch up with all the shows that are hitting primetime in the near future, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.