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CBS plays by Sandler’s ‘Rules’

Network says goodbye to 'King'

CBS is giving new Adam Sandler-produced laffer “Rules of Engagement” the best comedy timeslot on TV while finalizing plans to say goodbye to “The King of Queens” after nine seasons.

Starting Feb. 5, “Rules” will run Mondays at 9:30 p.m. behind the top-rated “Two and a Half Men,” the Eye will announce today. Its premiere will come one day after CBS airs Super Bowl XLI, allowing the net to give the David Spade-Patrick Warburton laffer a major promo push during the big game.

CBS Paramount and Sony Pictures TV produce “Rules” in association with Sandler’s Happy Madison shingle. Tom Hertz, Jack Giarraputo and Doug Robinson are exec producers.

Move will mean a timeslot switch for “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” which has occupied the plum slot after “Men” since its premiere last spring. After a brief hiatus during February, “Old Christine” will shift to Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on March 12.

“The Class,” which currently airs in the 8:30 p.m. slot, will wrap its first season on March 5.

Eye’s strategy is designed to virtually eliminate comedy repeats in the 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Monday timeslots. Net also wants to give all of its comedy players a fair shake on Mondays before it makes up its mind about how to schedule the night next season.

Sked shuffle marks a major vote of confidence in “Rules.” Eye execs are no doubt hoping the male-skewing “Rules,” which features a heavy dose of ribald humor, will be a better fit with “Men” than the more femme-friendly “Old Christine.”

While “Christine” has been a solid performer on Mondays and has even landed on some critics’ year-end top 10 lists, skein still loses about 20% of its lead-in. Not helping matters: “Christine” has had to face off against the red-hot “Heroes” for most of the fall.

As for “Rules,” CBS plans to air seven episodes of the laffer on Mondays. On April 9, net will bring back “King of Queens” — which goes on hiatus after its Jan. 3 broadcast — in the 9:30 p.m. Monday slot.

CBS will have seven episodes of “Queens” in the can, which means the skein’s series finale will likely air on May 21. Net hasn’t locked in any dates for the finale, however.

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