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King’s ransom for queen Leah

Sitcom thesp gets royal treatment from CBS

King of Queens” star Leah Remini will get a princely sum for the eighth season of the show.

After weeks of sometime strenuous negotiations, Remini has reupped for one more year of the CBS laffer, essentially tripling her salary in the process, insiders familiar with the situation said. It’s believed Remini will now collect a weekly paycheck in the same ballpark as the $400,000-plus per seg that co-star Kevin James will be making next season for his acting services. (James also gets paid for his role as a producer on the show).

With megahits like “Friends,” “Frasier” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” now gone, James and Remini are now believed to be among the highest paid — if not the highest paid — actors working on network television. Matt LeBlanc is making serious coin for his work on NBC’s “Joey,” while it would figure that at least two of the Eye’s “Two and a Half Men” might snag big raises from Warner Bros. TV once the skein is sold into syndication. (There’s no evidence any such raises are in the works.)

A CBS rep confirmed Remini’s deal but declined to discuss financial aspects of the pact.

What made the “King” renegotiations particularly interesting is the fact the show is one of the rare comedies with two essentially equal leads. Though James plays the title character, Remini takes almost as much airtime as James in most episodes.

Adding to the drama, CBS has moved “King” back to Monday nights in a bid to shore up its most important comedy night now that “Raymond” has signed off.

Because of all those circumstances, Remini’s team of reps, led by Harry Gold and Jon Moonves, seemed determined to hold out for a payday in the vicinity of what James will be making (Daily Variety, May 17).

James negotiated his deal earlier this year, just after his star turn opposite Will Smith in the winter feature “Hitch.”

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