Kevin James' return to primetime TV was a welcome one for fans of the actor's former glory on The King of Queens, and audiences initially showed up in droves to check Kevin Can Wait out. But just seven episodes into the CBS show's freshman season, problems are already starting to rear their ugly heads, and it's not just about the drooping ratings. Co-creator Bruce Helford has suddenly stepped down from his position as showrunner and will no longer be involved with the sitcom at all. A replacement has been set, but that's still quite a blow.
While there's a slight chance that there's some innocuous reasoning behind Bruce Helford departing Kevin Can Wait, it sounds as if there were creative differences mounting between Helford and Kevin James, according to Deadline. (The third creator, Rock Reuben, wasn't mentioned as part of the clashing.) Kevin Can Wait, with a central storyline about a former cop spending hectic times with his family, doesn't outwardly seem like the kind of project where creative tiffs could happen, but perhaps Helford had other thoughts about where the show could go in the future.
Taking the showrunner and executive producer reins left by Helford will be Rob Long, whose long television career speaks to why he was chosen for the gig. He started off as a writer and producer on Cheers, and went on to create other comedies such as George & Leo (with Bob Newhart and George Wendt) and Sullivan & Sun.
Not that Bruce Helford doesn't have his own stacked TV resume, as he was part of creating hits like Anger Management, George Lopez, The Drew Carey Show and many more. He also wrote for Family Ties and Anything But Love. He's definitely got a heftier past in television than Rob Long, not that it made Kevin Can Wait any easier, and we'll likely hear about him coming up with a new show in the near future. It might not happen on Monday nights on CBS though.
Kevin Can Wait did get some good news recently when CBS ordered the back nine episodes, bringing the new sitcom to a full first season. But that came right around the time the sitcom's lead-in, The Big Bang Theory, switched back to Thursday nights, and it's now quite obvious that the struggles are getting real for Kevin Can Wait in acquiring a standalone fanbase. Though the series premiere was seen by over 11 million people, Monday night's episode peaked at 6.4 million viewers watching on the night. Maybe Halloween can be blamed for that, but it can't be blamed for every other episode's ratings decline. Maybe they can bring Ray Romano back on a weekly basis.
Kevin Can Wait airs Monday nights on CBS. To see what else is still waiting to premiere, check out our fall TV schedule.