TCA Quick Take: Kevin Can Wait

Kevin Can Wait Francis Specker/CBS
Erinn Hayes, Kevin James, Rock Reuben and the Kevin Can Wait paned at the TA Summer Press Tour

Kevin James returns to TV. Didn’t think you missed him?  In his new CBS series, Kevin Can Wait, you’ll feel like James never left.

EP Rock Rubin, a longtime collaborator with Kevin James,  starts the session, “For the last 9 years, Kevin has been making movies [lists the terrible profitable movies James’ made, from Paul Blart to Zookeeper] and he makes his triumphant return to television.”

Rubin notes that Kevin Can Wait is the first multi-camera sitcom filmed on Long Island, and this series marks the first time Kevin James is playing a dad. James says, “I’ve never played a dad before, I’m looking forward to working with kids.” But the character is very similar to James’ character from King of Queens. (the series ran for 207 episodes, so why leave his wheelhouse)

“It’s the classic 4-camera sitcom,” says James. “I love those, not only being in them, but watching them.”

In the series, James plays a recently retired Cop whose plan for retirement hijinks are derailed by a series of family TV drama. And surprise! James’ TV wife, played by Erinn Hayes is many years younger than him (11 years younger, in real life), and unbelievably hot.

James called the comedy a mix of family sitcom, buddy comedy, retirement saga and says his TV family will be very involved in the plot.

Kevin Can Wait
Kevin Can Wait stars Kevin James as a newly retired police officer whose plans for a carefree retirement are upended by his wife (Erinn Hayes) and three kids. David Giesbrecht/CBS

When the lead character (named Kevin!) retires but the family needs cash, he (and often— his group of also retired former-cop buddies) will have wacky misadventures doing side gigs. Reuben lists, “We can have him be a classroom dad, he can be a crossing guard, he can chaperone a celebrity … We have so many places to go.”

Hayes insists that she isn’t going to be the straight man to Kevin’s antics. The actress has her own comedy chops and starred on the Adult Swim comedy Children’s Hospital. But it is worth it to note, that in her character’s first introduction on pilot, she is ragging on Kevin to rake the leaves, so we may see her wave a rolling pin yet.

Title Kevin Can Wait comes from a brainstorming session, but also the concept that Kevin can wait for his retirement. He learns that what he wants is what he has right now.

James says that his Kevin’s profession as a former police officer opens up the character for deeper moments and more mature comedy. “It’s the world that we’re going to be in. I don’t want it to be slipping and falling down,” says James. “Being a police officer invites different situations. Not that we’re going to get serious.” “We’ll have a murder of the week” quips Hayes.

Kevin Can Wait > CBS > Mondays at 8:30pm ET/PT beginning Sept. 19