Erinn Hayes can’t wait for fans to see her in a whole new light.
After a sudden departure from the Kevin James-led sitcom Kevin Can Wait last year, the 41-year-old actress is heading back to TV in The Dangerous Book for Boys, a new Amazon series based on the best-selling book of the same name — and Hayes is loving the change of pace.
“They’re such different shows,” said Hayes, comparing the two projects in an interview with PEOPLE Now on Monday. “One is a sitcom, it’s three jokes a page… You’re not diving into too much real emotion. And I had a wonderful time on that.”
Hayes continued: “And now I’m on this. This show is so true to life, and it’s… cinematic. The jokes can be the jokes and they come when they come, but it’s not like you gotta hit that thing.”
Now streaming on Amazon, The Dangerous Book for Boys — co-created by Bryan Cranston — follows a family coping with the loss of their patriarch with the help of a guidebook he left for them.
“It was just so beautiful to get a chance to dive into the reality of this family’s experience and know that you just want to make it as real as possible,” Hayes explained.
When asked by PEOPLE Now’s Jeremy Parsons if she’s glad to have moved on to “this great new show,” Hayes reacted with a smile. “Listen, I always love to work,” she said, laughing.
Fans were furious when Haye’s character, Donna, was killed off Kevin Can Wait last fall. Some even threatened to boycott the show over the departure, a sentiment that the actress seemed to back by liking posts on Twitter.
James told the New York Daily News in October that the decision was not because he or anyone else had a problem with Hayes, but rather because the show’s team was “running out of ideas” for storylines.
“I get that people are like, ‘Whoa, why would you do this?’ But it really felt like a thing like this was needed for this show to drive forward,” James said to the outlet.
The sitcom star explained that his character was originally going to be a single father. However, James and the producers went in a different direction, adding Hayes as his wife.
“The plot of the show didn’t have enough drive,” James said to the New York Daily News of season 1. “If we got through a second season, I wouldn’t see us getting through a third one. We were literally just running out of ideas.”
Leah Remini — who starred as James’ wife on CBS’ King of Queens from 1998 to 2007 — was added as a series regular to season 2 of Kevin Can Wait.