CBS’ real survivor looks for due reward

Emmy's new breed: King of Queens

Having rolled up seven somewhat inconspicuous seasons — the last two of which were spent surviving as a lame-duck comedy island on CBS’ Wednesday lineup — “King of Queens” returns to the network’s more fruitful Monday night sked in the fall.

If Emmy had an award specifically recognizing endurance, “King” would be favored. As it is, critics — many of whom are finally recognizing this skein’s staying power– are no longer dismissing its Emmy chances.

The series — based on a standard CBS formula of an average working-class Joe (Kevin James) and an out-of-his-league wife (Leah Remini) saw its audience dip to 9.8 million viewers this past season from 11 million. Still, scheduling can be blamed for much of that, and its base has remained strong, says TV Guide critic Matt Roush.

“It’s not just a survivor; it’s a real utility player,” he says. “It moves around, and people find it because (they) really like it. You’d think it would get respect, but it just gets taken for granted.”

“It’s hard to complain when you have a successful series,” adds series creator Michael Weithorn. “But as long as they give out awards in various areas of excellence, we’ve always felt that we’ve been unfairly overlooked. But more so, the fact that (stars) Kevin James, Leah Remini and Jerry Stiller have never been nominated is ridiculous. The quality of work they’ve done is unbelievable.”

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