It looks like this summer will not see a Moonves vs. Moonves battle royale after all. When tortured negotiations between CBS and King of Queens co-star Leah Remini over a new contract stalled this spring, industry rubberneckers salivated over a looming fight between CBS poobah Leslie Moonves and his brother, Hollywood powerbroker—and Remini attorney—Jon Moonves. But now sources at King of Queens report, with relief, that the previously stalled negotiations have finally resumed. The news has been greeted with cautious optimism at CBS, which needs a healthy King of Queens this fall.
When the network balked earlier this year at granting Remini a healthy pay bump (she reportedly earns significantly less than co-star Kevin James’ $500,000 per episode), some sort of job action seemed a likely option. After all, when sitcom stars sense that they have some leverage and not enough compensation, they have a way of losing their zest for work. The Friends gang suspended operations until NBC ponied up fat raises for them a couple of years ago, and last summer Everybody Loves Raymond’s supporting stars took the sick-out route until CBS realized the error of its monetary ways.
The network is moving the solid ratings performer from Wednesdays to Mondays this fall to shore up that now Raymondless night. And the relationship between Remini’s character and James’ is essential to the show, which will be starting its eighth season. A new deal would arrive just in time: The show’s writers return to work shortly, and production on the new season starts the last week in July. The Moonves camps declined to comment.