CBS’s ‘Kevin Can Wait’: A solid, safe comedy
There's nothing new at all about this sitcom, which stars Kevin James
August 18, 2016
One in a series of Media Life previews of the new shows debuting this fall. You can find past previews here.
CBS’s “Kevin Can Wait”
Mondays at 8:30 p.m. through Oct. 17; at 8 p.m. starting Oct. 24
Kevin (Kevin James) has just retired from the police force after decades of service. He’s excited to spend time with his wife and kids after so many years of prioritizing work.
But, oh boy, turns out family life isn’t easy! It may even be harder than fighting criminals! Really!
The show is produced by the same studios, Sony TV and CBS TV Studios, as James’ last CBS hit, “The King of Queens,” which aired from 1998 to 2007 on CBS.
“Kevin” is a generic, traditional sitcom with a well-known star and a one-note premise.
In other words, it’s exactly what thrived on CBS during the late 1990s and early 2000s, when James and Ray Romano and Charlie Sheen’s shows drew strong numbers.
Can it work in 2016? Probably. “Kevin’s” not going to win critics over, but CBS doesn’t care. It wants audience, and “Kevin” should deliver that fairly well.
The show will start with a month-long stint behind broadcast’s most popular comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” which gets displaced every fall by “Thursday Night Football.”
“Bang” will air at 8 p.m. Mondays through late October before moving back to its regular Thursday slot.
That gives “Kevin” a month to ride “Bang’s” considerable coattails and, the network hopes, get audiences in the habit of watching on Monday night before it moves to the 8 p.m. anchor spot.
“Kevin” will face formidable competition in NBC’s “The Voice” and, especially, ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” which aims for that same slightly older audience.
But the familiarity of James and his doofy husband act should draw away some viewers.
What media people say
Buyers think “Kevin” has potential.
They applaud CBS for understanding what its audience wants, even though they admit the comedy is a bit thin on plot and, at times, laughs.
James is likeable, though, and that “Bang” lead-in to start the season will be critical.
“James fans will not be disappointed with his return to CBS,” writes Harmelin Media senior buying director/broadcast and convergence manager Joyclyn Faust.
“Paired with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on Monday nights, ‘Kevin Can Wait’ is poised for success and should help CBS’s younger demo.”
What our readers say
In a Media Life poll asking readers to weigh in on the fall season, they voted “Kevin” CBS’s fifth-most promising new show of the fall, out of six programs.
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