Lionsgate has signed a development deal with Kevin James for movie and TV projects in which James will star and produce -- though he will continue to have a first-look feature film development deal at Sony.
The first project under the new deal calls for James to star in and executive produce a multi-camera comedy series with an initial 10 episodes. Lionsgate TV is producing under distrib Debmar-Mercury's "10/90â³ format that calls for accelerated production of 100 episodes if the 10-episode run hits predetermined ratings targets.
Lionsgate has employed the "10/90" model for "Anger Management," starring Charlie Sheen, and on "Saint George," starring George Lopez.
James, who has never done a Lionsgate movie, launched his movie career at Sony with "Hitch" and has also starred in Sony's "Grown Ups" films, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and "Here Comes the Boom." The movie development portion of his new pact is a second-look deal.
James first gained notice in Columbia Tristar Television's sitcom "The King of Queens," which ran for nine seasons on CBS. James also executive produced the show, which was launched in 1998 while Lionsgate topper Jon Feltheimer was at Sony.
Lionsgate has been expanding its TV business in recent years with its most recent quarter seeing TV production revenues more than double to $131.1 million due to strong gains in licensing of domestic TV series and international sales. Deliveries included "Anger Management ," the sixth season of "Mad Men ," and the debut seasons of "Nashville " and Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black."
Feltheimer said in a statement, "Kevin is exactly the kind of versatile and entrepreneurial acting, producing and writing talent with whom we like to partner. He has a tremendous track record in both the film and TV business, and we look forward to partnering with him on a wide range of projects in the years to come."
The Deadline.com site first reported that James and Lionsgate had agreed to the comedy series.
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