‘Raymond’ Stars Turn Pay Talks Into Drama

Aug 18, 2003  •  Post A Comment

“Everybody Loves Raymond” may have to be reclassified as a nighttime soap opera.
The new season hasn’t even started yet, and production on the eighth season of “Everybody Loves Raymond” has been delayed at least a week. Supporting players Patricia Heaton called in sick multiple times last week, and Brad Garrett’s representatives made it public that Mr. Garrett did not plan to return to work until CBS renegotiated his contract to up his salary.
Mr. Garrett’s move comes on the heels of comments CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves made at the Television Critics Association press tour last month that the network would consider a spinoff featuring Mr. Garrett’s character if “Raymond” did not return for a ninth season. The supporting cast is signed through the ninth season in 2004-05, but star Ray Romano and executive producer Phil Rosenthal are onboard only through this season. Both have said this could be the show’s final year.
While Mr. Garrett may feel he has more leverage right now because the network has expressed interest in a spinoff, some industry watchers said that strategy could jeopardize a spinoff possibility by angering Mr. Moonves and the network.
CBS has already renegotiated Mr. Garrett’s contract twice, giving him significant pay hikes.
“Brad Garrett is an enormously talented actor whom we hold in the highest regard,” CBS said in a statement. “As such, we have accommodated Brad’s request to negotiate new contracts twice over the past four years. The most recent agreement calls for Brad’s services through the eighth [upcoming] season of `Everybody Loves Raymond.’ It’s unfortunate that he is not honoring his contract.”
Mr. Garrett was not expected on the set last week because his character was not involved in the plot of the first episode.
Ms. Heaton called in sick last week and did not attend the Family Television Awards ceremony last Thursday night, where she won an award for favorite actress. The show’s producer announced that Ms. Heaton was not present to accept the award due to her illness and would tape her acceptance speech the following week. (The awards will be broadcast on The WB Monday, Aug. 25.)
Production on the first episode is slated to start this week.