The King of Queens, which starred Kevin James as the titular ‘king’ of his New York borough, Doug Heffernan; and Leah Remini as his fiery-tempered sardonic wife, Carrie, ran on CBS for 9 seasons between 1998 and 2007. While generally speaking, the sitcom received mixed reviews by critics, audiences seemed to share a very different opinion on the comedy. Throughout the series 207 episode run; it proved to be a consistent success for CBS, with an average of 8.7 million viewers tuning in each week.
Since entering into syndication on over-the-air and cable stations across the United States. The King of Queens has likewise performed exceptionally well, and in the age of streaming services; it has continued to draw in large audiences. Overseas, the show has also been a hit with viewers – although it makes you wonder if international audiences are capable of understanding all of it’s US-specific cultural references. Regardless, The King Of Queens has earned itself a place in sitcom history alongside other beloved programs like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Frasier, and Home Improvement.
It’s been 15 years since the long-running series went off the air, and fans are still sad that they aren’t able to see the Heffernans on their TV screens anymore. If you’re one of these die-hard King of Queens fans or if you simply happen to have alive during the era in which the show dominated the ratings; you might be wondering why the series canceled even though it still such a moneymaker.
Join Facts Verse as we take a look at the real reason why the King Of Queens given the ax. We’ll also be reflecting back on how the series ended. So, buckle up and get ready for an eye-opening journey back to the mid-2000s – a time when skinny jeans reigned supreme and screamo bands overtook rock radio stations.
One Of The Longest-Running Sitcoms On Network TV
CBS raked in a ton of cash with The King Of Queens over the years that it was on the air, but by 2006 it seemed as if the network was gearing up to move forward with some fresh ideas. The first half of season 9 started off strong, pulling in 9.4 million viewers. Unfortunately, the same can not said about the season’s second half. Only 700,000 viewers tuning into the show late into it’s last season, but that still not ultimately the reason why it canceled.
Plenty of shows experience dips in viewership at some point and still manage to bounce back. Fox canceled their fantasy series Lucifer after it’s third season, but after Netflix picked it up, it went on to air for another three and consistently earned high viewership. Likewise, American Horror Story was able to recover after it’s lackluster ‘Freak Show’ season.
On top of that, The King of Queens was still killing it in re-runs. Even if it’s newest episodes aired in primetime not bringing in the kinds of numbers that the network might have hoping for, plenty of folks still continuing to tune in on a regular basis in different time slots.
Even so, the network still decided to pull the plug on the comedy in 2007. There is even some evidence that suggests that CBS was debating canceling it the year prior. After season 8, the network was uncertain that they wanted to green-light the series for another season. But in the end, the network gave it the go-ahead for one last 13-episode season so that audiences could get a fitting ending to a show that they had invested in for the better part of a decade.
It May Have Canceled Over A Salary Dispute
Slumping ratings not the only reason why The King Of Queens ultimately canceled. It appears that there may been some kind of dispute over Kevin James’ salary that also led to the series’ demise.
Reportedly James dissatisfied with his salary as far back as 2005. CBS eventually buckled under his demands, not wanting to lose one of their star players at the height of one of their top-rated show’s popularity. They ended up agreeing to pay James $500,000 per episode for the season that ran from 2005 to 2006.
When James had first signed on to do the show, he paid $300,000 per episode. That would later increase to $400,000 per episode before he demanded yet another pay increase. Judging by that pattern, it’s likely that James probably insisted on being paid even more after the 2005-2006 season.
Since the series had started to lose some of it’s viewership by then. It would probably be safe to say that CBS was beginning to feel uneasy about shelling out more dough to keep him around. Knowing that the show couldn’t have possibly gone on without him. The safest bet at that point would be just canceling it and calling it a day.
Despite whatever kinds of salary disputes that were happening behind closed doors. It’s evident that James still has pleasant memories about his time working on the set of The King Of Queens. In 2020, the comedian even hinted at the possibly of a reunion or reboot in the near future.
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And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stay tuned to learn what Leah Remini and Kevin James have been up to in the years since The King Of Queens ended.
How It The King Of Queens Ended
It can be tricky to wrap up a long-running show. Just ask the producer’s of Lost. No matter how a show ends, fans are typically going to be polarized by it’s ending. Not every series can end on a high note like MAS*H did.
That being said, sitcoms are typically easier to give a cathartic and satisfying ending to then say a sci-fi or fantasy series. Most fans of The King of Queens seem to be pretty okay with how the sitcom ended.
The show wrapped up with a dramatic two-part finale. In it, Doug and Carrie went to Poughkeepsie, New York to attend Carrie’s father, Arthur Spooner’s wedding ceremony. Throughout these two episodes, the fate of the Heffernan’s marriage was uncertain as they couldn’t seem to agree on two life-changing decisions.
Carrie always dreamed of having an apartment in Manhattan, but Doug wanted to stay in Queens and have children. Carrie and Doug reached a compromise, however, that they would stay in Queens if he agreed to quit his job as a delivery driver.
While Doug upheld his end of the deal, Carrie did not – and when Doug found out that she hadn’t let go of the apartment in Manhattan; he was furious.
At the wedding, however, the couple learned that the child they had been on the waiting list to adopt from China was finally ready to come home with them. Meanwhile, Arthur ended up getting stood up at the alter when his fiance Ava St. Clair revealed that she only wanted to marry a gay man after her previous marriages had failed. After finding out that Arthur wasn’t gay, she split.
Determined to get married that day, Arthur ended up proposing to Spence Olchin’s mom, Veronica; and the two ended up tying the knot on the spot.
After Carrie and Doug found out that their daughter was ready for adoption; they rushed to the airport independently of each other to try and be the first to pick her up. Since they ended up on the same flight together, they were able to resolve their differences and forgive each other.
Once they arrived in China, Carrie found out she was pregnant – something she had long thought she was incapable of.
The final scene showed Doug and Carrie one year later sitting in their living room with their two children. Arthur then walked through their door holding a suitcase. After telling them that his impromptu marriage with Veronica unsurprisingly ‘didn’t work out’; he made his way back into the basement where he lived for the bulk of the series. Credits roll.
James And Remini Never Recovered From The Show Ending
The King of Queens launched both Kevin James and Leah Remini’s respective careers. But after the series came to an end in 2007; neither star has been able to find a role that has come close to capturing the same sort of magic.
Kevin James’ follow-up CBS sitcom Kevin Can Wait, which also included Remini, debuted in 2016. While it started off strong, it was canceled after just two seasons after viewership had waned.
Erinn Hayes’s character, Kevin’s wife Donna Gable, was killed off after the first season. Remini’s character, Vanessa Cellucci, was brought in to replace Hayes in the show’s second season. This move deeply upset fans of the show and the second season’s ratings dropped off sharply.
Kevin James has spent the last several years doing a lot of voice work for films like the Hotel Transylvania series. He has also appeared in films like 2012s Here Comes the Boom and 2015’s Pixels; both of which under performed at the box office.
After leaving The King Of Queens, Remini said that it felt like she had ended a marriage. She had spent 9 years of her life working with her co-stars and in the process had made so many memories.
From 2016 to 2019, Remini hosted the series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. The documentary program centered around investigating the Church of Scientology through the experiences of former members, including Remini.
She had been a member of the fringe religious movement between 1979 when she joined as a child alongside her parents. And 2013, when she left under troubling circumstances. She has since become a very outspoken critic of the church.
In 2015, she published a best-selling memoir entitled Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. Since leaving Scientology, Remini has returned to the Roman Catholic Church.
While she has remained active in Hollywood since The King Of Queens ended. Remini has yet to appear in a television show or film that has seen the same kind of viewership and popularity.
Were you a fan of The King of Queens? And would you have liked to see the show go on for several seasons, or do you think that ended when it should have? Let us know in the comments.
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