Fall TV preview: Monday returning shows | EW.com


Fall TV preview: Monday returning shows

'Becker,' '7th Heaven,' and other shows returning to Monday night

The KING of Queens
CBS 8-8:30 PM Starts Sept. 20

Ask Kevin James how he feels about his sophomore CBS sitcom, The King of Queens, moving into the all-important 8 o’clock slot, and you’ll get an answer that’s not exactly flush with royal confidence: ”I look at it as an I-don’t-know-if-the-bread’s-ready-to-come-out-of-the-oven type of thing.” Agrees his TV wife, Leah Remini: ”We’re not putting up permanent pictures in our dressing rooms yet.”

Sounds like a classic case of separation anxiety from Everybody Loves Raymond. After all, James started as a recurring player on stand-up pal Ray Romano’s show, and King served as the warm-up act for Raymond last season. (”I hope they can stand on their own without our tremendous lead-in,” jokes James.) At least there’s another crossover to look forward to: James is cowriting an episode in which his Doug Heffernan and Romano’s Ray Barone go on a double date with their spouses. How will he pay Ray back for this surefire ratings boost? ”I can’t say that to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. If this were the Playboy interview, I’d let you know.”

Okay then. King finished a solid 35th last season, and its competition is actually less cutthroat this fall, with ABC moving Monday Night Football back to 9 p.m. Plus, ”the Jennifer Love Hewitt thing shouldn’t cost us any viewers,” says King cocreator David Litt about Fox’s Time of Your Life, which will be angling for the zit-cream crowd along with The WB’s 7th Heaven and UPN’s Moesha. And as for NBC’s retooled Suddenly Susan, King cocreator Michael J. Weithorn declares, ”We can take ‘em.”

Watch for James’ parcel-service driver Doug to get a motorcycle and Remini’s Carrie to find a new best friend — who catches the eye of her basement-dwelling widower dad (Jerry Stiller). ”A lot of younger women like older men, because they know their way around,” says Stiller. ”These hot kids today just eat and run, so to speak, but older guys know what romancing is.” The show will also shoot an episode at Shea Stadium, where Doug falls onto the field reaching for a foul ball. Says James, ”I see a cop coming and bolt.”

Even if The King of Queens doesn’t race to the top of the ratings, the cast says that’s fine with them. ”We want to do a slow build,” says Remini. ”We don’t want people to go, ‘Oh, I’m so sick of seeing those two idiots.”’ Adds James, ”I feel like we’re still a puppy — this goofy Great Dane. We’re klutzy, but the potential’s there to be a huge beast.”

UPN, 8-8:30 p.m.

Brandy’s real-life brother, Ray J, joins the cast as her school-cutting, curfew-busting cousin, Dorian, who moves in with the family and butts heads with Dad (William Allen Young). After her brief stint working at Vibe magazine, Mo (above) enters college and finds romance. ”It’s going to come from an unexpected place,” says executive producer Vida Spears. Just pray it’s not a crossover with Grown Ups’ Jaleel White. (Aug. 23)