The popular show titled Kevin Can Wait is an American sitcom TV series starring renowned actor, Kevin James. It was a CBS series which aired from 19th of September 2016 till 7th of May 2018. The show marked Kevin’s 2nd leading role in a CBS series after his stint on the set of The King of Queens which spanned from 1988 till 2007.
At the opening of the show, Kevin starred as a newly retired Nassau County, New York cop as well as father to three children. He was also the husband of Donna portrayed by Erin Hayes. The character of Donna died at the beginning of the 2nd season and was replaced by Leah Remini – the show’s new female lead who came in to portray the character of Vanessa Cellucci. Leah happened to be Kevin’s ex-rival in the police force and presently, his collaborator at their newly opened security company called Monkey Fist Security.
While the debut season majorly focused on Kevin James’ family and personal life, season two was all about his dalliance with Vanessa as well as his adjustment to life as a single dad after the demise of his wife. Unfortunately, the show was canceled by CBS after it ran for a couple of seasons and 48 episodes.
Kevin Can Wait Cast
Kevin James as Kevin Gable
Kevin is the leading character of the show, a newly retired police officer, father of the Gable family and the husband of Donna. He had the tendency to fall into complicated situations which he normally solves with the help of his spouse and his down-to-earth principles.
Erinn Hayes as Donna Gable
The actress and comedian Erinn Hayes acted as the wife of Kevin and the mother of the Gable family. She stayed throughout the first season but was killed off in the second season.
Taylor Spreitler as Kendra Gable-Witt
The American TV and film actress Taylor Spreitler acts as the oldest daughter of the Gable household. She is a college student studying law and also had a part-time job as a waitress at Enzo’s.
Ryan Cartwright as Chale Witt
Ryan Cartwright is an English actor born in Birmingham, West Midlands. In the GTV sitcom, Kevin Can Wait, he is Kendra’s fiancé who later became her husband. He is portrayed as soft-spoken and shy but also highly intelligent. Kevin didn’t like him initially but they later came to an understanding.
Mary-Charles Jones as Sara Marie Gable
Sara is the younger daughter of the Gable family; she was cast as a tomboy who has anger management issues with a rebellious streak. She is sports stand out, loves to watch football and frequently fights. Mary-Charles was born in Atlanta, Georgia on October 10, 2003. She has acted in films like Dear Dumb Diary, October Road and Hannah Montana.
James DiGiacomo as Jack Gable
James DiGiacomo appeared in the TV series as the youngest son of the Gable family. He is cast as the weakest link in the Gable household. Though he always made an effort to get new friends, he has very few and he is somewhat dim. Child actor James DiGiacomo is a New York native born on March 22, 2005, and he appeared in a film for the first time at the age of three.
What Happened to the Wife?
The obvious question on the lips of the fans of Kevin Can Wait is what happened to Erin’s character, why was Donna killed off? At the beginning of the second season, the character of Erin Hayes was taken over by Leah Remini – Kevin’s ex-King of Queens costar. Donna just dies mysteriously – and even Kevin was not sure of how it happened but he sure knows why.
According to what Kevin James told the New York Daily, it was something that was needed to be done for the series to get a move on. He went on to reveal that his character was originally cast as a single dad but it happened that after much deliberation, the show producers made the decision to write-in a wife for Kevin. But at the end of the first season, it became really glaring that a change was needed.
Kevin also said that the show’s plot was without the needed drive to see it through to the end and going through season 2 might mean that they will not be able to get through season three. In fact, the show was literally running out of ideas. It was already a known fact that the character of Donna would die but the only thing that was not known was how the act was going to be accomplished – or perhaps even more importantly, how the show producers were going to handle her conspicuously sudden exit.
Was the Show Canceled and Why?
Yes, Kevin Can Wait was definitely canceled and the unpalatable fact is that the cancellation came only after a couple of seasons. So far, fans have witnessed many cancellations, some were expected, while others were never anticipated but this one came as a big surprise to viewers.
So the big question is “why did CBS decide to cancel the show? Well, the answer to that particular question boils down to a good number of reasons, you would probably expect some of the contributing factors but a few others were never expected. The major factors are listed below.
The Showrunner Exited After Only Half a Season
The show took off on a very good note in 2016 with the premiere episode garnering a remarkable 11 million viewers. But trouble started brewing a couple of months later after Bruce Helford – the showrunner decided to exit from the show. According to Deadline, Bruce had some creative differences with the main character Kevin James. Worse is the fact that the news broke when the show’s ratings were already starting to show some minor decline; it began with The Big Bang Theory as a lead-in, however, when it was moved to 8 pm, the rate of decline became more significant
Fans Became Outraged After Kelvin’s Wife Got Killed Off
It came as shocking news to fans and the viewing public when they got to hear that Kevin’s wife portrayed by Erin Hayes would be exiting the show. Fans were even more shocked when it became clear that it was never Erin’s decision to leave the show, rather, it was revealed through her Twitter handle that she was asked to go.
It was soon announced that Leah Remini was set to join the series as Kevin’s co-star in order to take Erin’s place while the character portrayed by Erin will get killed off in the plot. It so happened that Leah co-starred alongside Kevin in The King of Queens. So it appeared to fans that Erin was killed off in order to be able to set up a King of Queens semi-reboot, this decision further enraged the online fans.
So when faced with the question of why the show let Erin go, the major character Kevin responded that the producers were practically running out of ideas, and that is a very bad sign after the show just ran for only a single season.
The Show Was Not Fully Owned by CBS.
One major factor that should be taken into serious consideration is, the fact that Kevin Can Wait TV show was not entirely the baby of CBS Television Studios, rather the production work was a collaboration between Sony Pictures Television and CBS.
It is quite true that co-productions in TV shows are common occurrences but when it gets to the stage where a network becomes indecisive about keeping a show that is on the bubble, the executives of the studio may be a bit more inclined to keep the show running if it is outrightly owned by them, but that was not the case with Kevin Can Wait.
When a network happens to be the major distributor of a television show, selling off its rights to other ventures like streaming services can really come out as very profitable. This trend is really becoming more and more important as time goes on. It is even on the verge of exceeding the live television ratings in importance. However, since the show was not fully owned by CBS, the survival solely depended on the live TV ratings; any other option did not feature at all.
The Ratings Greatly Dropped in the 2nd Season.
Kevin Can Wait TV series suffered a great decline in its second season, though the premiere of season 2 drew remarkable 10 million viewers. From what is obvious, everybody was really eager to find out how the producers of the show handled the exit of Erin Hayes and probably witness how well Leah was doing in filling the shoes left by Erin.
From all indications, those viewers came away unimpressed which was evident in the following week’s episodes when the viewership dropped by almost four million. The drop accounted for 35% decrease; relatively, the show only experienced a 4% decrease between its premiere and the 2nd episode of the 1st season. The online fans exhibited quite some negativity on how Erin’s departure was handled by the show with many of them vowing never to watch again. By the time the 2nd season came to an end, Kevin Can Wait TV show reached a series low with a record of 4.9 million viewers for the penultimate episode.
Expenses were on the High Side
Kevin Can Wait’s high production cost was another major challenge the show had. Though the exact figures have never been published, Newsday reported that the cost of producing the series was fairly high which contributed to the cancellation of the show.
The salary that was paid to Kevin James constituted a major part of that production budget, according to Variety, Kevin was receiving $200,000 for a single episode which culminated into $5 million for a season. Relatively, the major cast of Roseanne, John Goodman was earning $250,000 but his own show was rated higher than Kevin Can Wait.
CBS Says Ratings were the Main Factor
CBS themselves opened up on why the television series was axed. According to what Kelly Kahl – the president of CBS Entertainment told Deadline, the numbers was a very strong show for them. It suffered a lot of decline towards the end and was definitely heading in the wrong direction. As the year progressed, the numbers continue to show an increased decline and looking forward, the show didn’t look like something that will recover within a short while.
There were shows like Man with a Plan which had similar ratings as Kevin Can Wait that was actually renewed by CBS. But it would appear that CBS had good reasons to believe that Kevin Can Wait had every likelihood of keeping up with a higher rate of decline in the 3rd season if it airs. A major part of the decision to axe the show was probably because they saw how badly the fans received their earlier decision to kill off Erin’s character.
CBS EVP told Deadline that Kevin Can Wait TV show came up with a decision at the beginning of the year, they all agreed to move on with it but unfortunately, the viewing public did not see it in the same way.