Kevin James on Why His Lionsgate Comedy Fell Apart: ‘It Was Such a Rushed Process’

TCA 2016: “It just didn’t feel right,” the “Kevin Can Wait” star says

kevin james cbs
Getty Images

Kevin James takes comedy seriously — and he says that’s why one of his proposed sitcom projects never saw the light of day.

The star of the new CBS comedy “Kevin Can Wait” explained on Wednesday that a TV comedy he was going to do with Lionsgate never gelled because it was just too “desperate.”

“It was such a rushed process,” James told reporters Wednesday at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills.

“It just didn’t feel right,” he added. “It just felt a little desperate? I don’t know, it felt weird.”

The Lionsgate project, announced in 2013, was part of an overall deal James made with the studio. The proposed sitcom was to be made by Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury unit as part of its “10/90” model, where a show is picked up straight to series for 10 episodes; assuming the ratings meet a certain target, the network buyer is then committed to pick up another 90, for a total of 100 episodes. That arrangement resulted in Charlie Sheen‘s sitcom “Anger Management.”

But James said his own project was never properly funded. “You can’t do a lot of exterior shots; you don’t have the money or time,” he said.

He also missed shooting in front of a live audience, as he did on his CBS smash “The King of Queens.”

“To do a show, I want an audience,” he said. “I feed off of them.”

He added: “So we pulled away from it and I’m so glad I did. To be with the family, back at CBS — do it the right way,” he said, alluding to “Kevin Can Wait.”

On “Kevin Can Wait,” James plays a newly retired cop on Long Island whose plans to take it easy are complicated by his wife and kids.