'Queens' rules German TV

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The final episode of "The King of Queens" ruled supreme Monday night in Germany, drawing 2.5 million viewers for a 16.4% market share among 14- to 49-year-olds, an almost unheard-of figure for a U.S. sitcom here.

"Queens' " swan song marked the end of a very particular German success story. While U.S. sitcom giants from "Seinfeld" to "Friends" to "Everybody Loves Raymond" have failed as anything other than niche programming, Kevin James and "Queens" are household names in Germany.

The show has made James a star from Bonn to Berlin. In 2005, the actor took his fame to a new level with the romantic comedy "Hitch," in which he played a luckless nerd alongside Will Smith's silver-tongued date doctor. The movie was a massive hit in Germany.

Universal made James a main focus of its German campaign for "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry," a tacit acknowledgment that, in these parts, the heavy-set comedian is more popular than Adam Sandler. Despite its U.S.-centric themes (gay marriage, health insurance) "Chuck & Larry" opened No. 1 in Germany.
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