12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Kevin James to Star in NASCAR-Backed Netflix Comedy Series
Kevin James is returning to series television.
The actor has closed a deal to star in and executive produce the Netflix comedy series The Crew.
Picked up straight to series, the multicamera effort is set in a NASCAR garage with the King of Queens and Kevin Can Wait grad (and a notable NASCAR fan who rarely misses a race) playing a crew chief. When the owner steps down and passes the team off to his daughter, James finds himself at odds with the tech-reliant millennials she starts bringing in to modernize the team.
The series is being produced in partnership with NASCAR, with managing director of content development Matt Summers and chief digital officer Tim Clark overseeing for the racing company.
Jeff Lowell (The Ranch, Two and a Half Men, Spin City) will serve as writer, showrunner and executive producer. James' longtime manager, Jeff Sussman, will executive produce alongside Todd Garner (Paul Blart).
An episode count and premiere date have yet to be determined.
The Crew brings James back into the TV fold a year after CBS canceled the multicam Kevin Can Wait after a two-season run. He is one of the most proven multicamera comedy actors working in TV, following his long-running series King of Queens.
The racing comedy extends James' relationship with Netflix, for whom he has done multiple stand-up specials and the features True Memoirs of an International Assassin and Sandy Wexler.
The Crew is the latest multicamera comedy in the works at Netflix, which has had a hit-and-miss track record in the space. Other multicams at the streamer have included Fuller House, The Ranch, One Day at a Time, No Good Nick and All About the Washingtons. The latter was canceled after one season, while Fuller House and The Ranch are both ending. One Day at a Time was axed and revived months later by Pop TV. Word on the future of No Good Nick has not been announced.
James' move to Netflix comes as the company continues to bring proven broadcast actors and showrunners to the streaming space with the lure of sizable upfront paydays and alleged creative freedom.
James, whose features include the Paul Blart, Grown Ups and Hotel Transylvania franchises, as well as Pixels and Zookeeper, is repped by UTA, Sussman and Schreck Rose.