EXCLUSIVE: The King Of Queens star Kevin James is reuniting with the TV studio behind the hit CBS sitcom for a new comedy staring vehicle. James and his Hey Eddie Productions have made a two-year first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television to produce projects for television, including a sitcom that he would headline. Additionally, Columbia Pictures has renewed its first-look deal with the comedian-actor-producer-writer and his company through 2017.
James got his big breaks in TV and movies at Sony with star-making turns on King of Queens, which ran from 1998-2007, and in Will Smith’s 2005 hit Hitch, respectively. James got his start as a producer on King of Queens and formed Hey Eddie Productions at Sony in 2007 with producing partner and manager Jeff Sussman, He has been under first-look film pacts at the studio since 2011.
James launched a film franchise for Sony with the 2009 Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which he co-wrote and starred in. He also toplined the studio’s Zookeeper and Here Comes the Boom — both produced by Hey Eddie — and was in the Adam Sandler franchises Grown Ups and the animated Hotel Transylvania. James stars in three high-profile feature comedies for Sony this year: the Hey Eddie-produced Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, which opens April 17; another sequel, Hotel Transylvania 2; and the Chris Columbus-directed summer tentpole Pixels, in which James again partners onscreen with Sandler.
“We’ve had tremendous success with Kevin from his big-screen debut in Hitch, to Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups films and Pixels, and the films based on his distinctive comic persona Paul Blart,” said Doug Belgrad, president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group. “We’re excited to remain his feature film home and continue to make movies based on the characters that Kevin creates — loveable guys who aren’t perfect, but who have huge hearts that win the day.”
For the last two years, James had a TV development deal at Lionsgate with an eye toward creating a new multi-camera sitcom for him to star. (The deal also had a feature component, which was a second-look as he had his first-look agreement at Sony.)
James is now back at Sony TV where they are already zeroing in on an idea for a comedy for him to headline and executive produce.
“Kevin is an extraordinary talent, and we have a long, successful relationship together with The King of Queens,” said SPT President Steve Mosko. “It’s great to have him back in the family, and we’re very excited about his next big comedy series.”
King of Queens, which ran on CBS for nine seasons, remains one of SPT’s most lucrative properties with a long afterlife via off-network and international sales.
James, who also executive produced the series, is repped by WME and attorney Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams. Outside of Sony, he starred in the Universal features I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (with Sandler) and The Dilemma.