Kevin James couldn’t wait: Long Is­land is his sit­com home

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - By Fra­zier Moore

NEW YORK >> With “Kevin Can Wait,” Kevin James has come home.

Home to the tried-and-true sit­com form with which he thrived for nine sea­sons on “The King of Queens.”

Home to CBS, where “King” en­joyed its long run and where “Kevin Can Wait” ar­rived this fall (air­ing Mon­days at 8 p.m. EDT).

And home to James’ na­tive Long Is­land, from where his new show orig­i­nates.

Though set in the New York City bor­ough of Queens, “The King of Queens” was filmed 2,500 miles away in Los An­ge­les. But for his re­turn to se­ries tele­vi­sion, James wanted to be true to his roots. Not even a stu­dio in nearby Queens would sat­isfy him.

“I said, ‘If I can do my show on Long Is­land, then I’ll do it,’” he ex­plains. As its ro­bust au­di­ence al­ready knows, “Kevin Can Wait” cen­ters on a Long Is­land hus­band and fa­ther named Kevin who, newly re­tired from the po­lice force, finds him­self to be an un­wit­ting in­vader on the home front.

“My wife (played by co-star Erinn Hayes) has al­ready es­tab­lished what’s go­ing on at home,” James laughs, “and when you’re re­tired and back home full-time, you’re dis­rupt­ing all that. You can say, ‘I’ll set the rules now.’ But the ce­ment is dry!”

James, 51, was raised in the Long Is­land ham­let of Stony Brook, and now he’s out to cap­ture the feel of work­ing-class Long Is­land life that, through his own dis­arm­ing reg­u­larguy­ness, he em­bod­ies both on- and off-cam­era.

“We want to make Long Is­land a char­ac­ter in the show, and we’re us­ing it for ex­te­rior shots,” he says. And Ac­tor/ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Kevin James par­tic­i­pates in the “Kevin Can Wait” panel Aug. 10 dur­ing the CBS Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion sum­mer press tour, in Bev­erly Hills, Calif. With “Kevin Can Wait,” Kevin James has come home to his na­tive Long Is­land, New York, from where his new CBS sit­com orig­i­nates. even though the ma­jor­ity of the ac­tion is filmed in multi-cam­era style on a Beth­page, Long Is­land, sound­stage, James loves know­ing that lo­cal folks who can read­ily re­late to the show’s zany dilem­mas com­prise each week’s stu­dio au­di­ence: “I love that en­ergy.”

Clearly, James has gained a mea­sure of ex­pe­ri­ence in how to be the boss yet still re­lax. This is in marked con­trast to the ris­ing young standup who scored his first sit­com back in 1998.

“On ‘The King of Queens,’ I showed up as this green kid who tried to con­trol things,” he re­calls. “You get so pan­icked, con­stantly look­ing over your shoul­der, check­ing if we’re gonna get can­celed. This time, my fin­ger­prints are all over it — writ­ing, wardrobe, ev­ery­thing — but I’m also hav­ing fun. I want this show to con­nect, be­cause I love it. But I’ve done it al­ready, and we had a great run.”

Maybe his­tory is re­peat­ing it­self. In any case, CBS didn’t wait long to give “Kevin Can Wait” a full-sea­son or­der.

DEAR ABBY >> I re­cently lost my mom to cancer, and my fa­ther has of­fered her en­gage­ment ring to me to pro­pose to my long­time girl­friend. The ring used to be­long to my grand­mother and has a beau­ti­ful qual­ity di­a­mond in a yel­low gold set­ting. My girl­friend and I are not fans of yel­low gold.

I know Mom would want my girl­friend to have a ring she loves and will cher­ish. I was told the set­ting in Mom’s ring is badly worn and the stone is at risk of fall­ing out. Would it be wrong to use the stone and have the “per­fect” ring made for my fu­ture fi­ancee? I’m not sure about de­stroy­ing the orig­i­nal ring. Thoughts, Abby?

— Ner­vous in New Jer­sey

DEAR NER­VOUS >> I don’t think it would be wrong. I do think you should talk to a trusted jew­eler and take your guid­ance from him or her.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

PHOTO BY RICHARD SHOTWELL/IN­VI­SION/AP

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