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Eye on the Emmys: Au Revoir, ‘Raymond’

Aug 15, 2005  •  Post A Comment

By Amy Helmes

Special to TelevisionWeek



Will Emmy voters still love “Raymond”?

The venerable CBS sitcom heads into its final Emmys at-bat with 13 nominations, including a writing nod for the show’s last episode (which aired May 16) and a chance to claim the top comedy prize.

But does the fact that the show won’t be back give it a sentimental edge or put it at a disadvantage against some of the fresher entries? The competition for outstanding comedy series consists of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”; NBC’s “Scrubs”; the 2004 winner, Fox’s “Arrested Development”; and the only other multi-camera format entry, NBC’s “Will & Grace.”

“Everybody Loves Raymond” creator and executive producer Phil Rosenthal isn’t counting on any parting gifts.

“I think it’s going to be ‘Desperate Housewives” year,” he said. “It’s a very innovative show, and the show of the moment is what seems to usually win.”

Both critically and in terms of ratings, “Raymond” has had a successful nine-year-run. And while the everyday antics of put-upon suburbanite Ray Barone and his family have an endearing charm, they don’t have the flash and sex appeal that the competition offers.

“I would say almost every show on television is sexier,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “It’s hard for a traditional anything to compete in today’s world on any level, because the emphasis is on the hip and edgy and sexy. If you’re not those things, you’re not in what the media thinks is the zeitgeist.”

Edgy or not, Mr. Rosenthal said he feels especially honored this year by the show’s 13 nominations-the most it has ever received.

“Usually, a show can benefit from getting nominated. But we’re off the air, so nobody’s really helping us,” he said. “I think it was very sweet that anybody cared to nominate us at all, because there’s no real business reason for us to get any nominations, let alone awards.”

“Raymond,” which took top honors in 2003, does not have history on its side. “Friends” had the fourth-most-watched series finale ever last year, but went home empty-handed. Even “M*A*S*H,” which pulled in a record 105 million viewers for its final episode in 1983, went 0 for 9 at the Emmys that year. “Seinfeld” likewise was stiffed in its farewell season.

In other words, neither a longstanding affection for a show nor stellar ratings means voters will tip their hats in tribute. John Leverence, senior VP of awards at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, said it’s highly unlikely that a show would be honored based on its track record.

“Body of work is important in the nominating process because the entries are not accompanied by specific show tapes,” he said. “But body of work is irrelevant to the final judging because it’s based on evaluations of the specific episodes submitted by nominees.”

It’s not the job of Emmy voters, Mr. Leverence pointed out, to offer shows the equivalent of retirement gifts when it comes time to cast the ballots. “Emmys are awarded for immediate, rather than historic, achievements,” he said. “We have the academy’s Television Hall of Fame for the long-haul achievements.”



Subdued Sendoffs

Historically, wins for departing shows predominantly have been relegated to the acting categories. And based on last year, the cast members of “Raymond” can be optimistic about adding a few more trophies to the 12 the show has claimed since its 1996 debut. “Frasier” and “Sex and the City” stars won in their send-off seasons, with top honors for lead actor (“Frasier’s” Kelsey Grammer) and actress (“Sex and the City’s” Sarah Jessica Parker) as well as supporting actor (“Frasier’s” David Hyde Pierce) and actress (“Sex and the City’s” Cynthia Nixon). Ultimately, “Frasier” took home six wins out of nine nominations while “Sex and the City” scored two out of 11 noms.

The “Raymond” cast has, of course, already claimed a number of Emmys, including Ray Romano for lead actor, two lead actress wins for Patricia Heaton, two supporting actor wins for Brad Garrett and three supporting actress wins for Doris Roberts. Peter Boyle, who plays Raymond’s curmudgeon dad, has yet to win but is nominated for the seventh time for supporting actor. “He’s way past due,” Mr. Rosenthal said.

Last year “Raymond” was blanked in all nine of the categories in which it was nominated. Mr. Rosenthal has admitted that part of the reason “Raymond” has run its course is that when it came to ideas he was “bone dry.” But the producer is holding out hope for a writing prize for the finale. That’s not only because the entire writing staff had a hand in creating it, Mr. Rosenthal said, but also because it would reinforce his belief that the series ended on a high note.

“Other than Peter Boyle finally getting his due, it’s the one award I would love,” he said. “We like to think that we got out when the going was good and didn’t overstay our welcome.”

Are there any series to which Mr. Rosenthal would be happy to pass the torch?

“Well, I love ‘Arrested Development,'” he said. “And now that we’re leaving, I think ‘The Simpsons’ should be allowed to compete in the comedy [category].”

Mr. Rosenthal said the “Raymond” gang will treat this year’s Emmys as they have previous editions.

“We all drink a lot,” he said. “That’s the tradition. And even next year, when we’re not at the Emmys, I bet we’ll still be drinking a lot.”





Not-So-Fond Farewells

ATAS has rarely given big Emmy sendoffs to shows in their final year.

Friends, 2004: 7 noms, 0 wins

Frasier, 2004: 9 noms, 6 wins

Mad About You, 1999: 3 noms, 2 wins

thirtysomething, 1991: 8 noms, 3 wins

Seinfeld, 1998: 5 noms, 0 wins

Picket Fences, 1996: 5 noms, 2 wins

Cheers, 1993: 8 noms, 2 wins

Golden Girls, 1992: 3 noms, 1 win

L.A. Law, 1992: 6 noms, 1 win

Hill Street Blues, 1987: 3 noms, 0 wins

M*A*S*H, 1983: 9 noms, 0 wins

Taxi, 1983: 6 noms, 3 wins





‘EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND’

WINS AND NOMINATIONS

* Indicates a win

2005 Nominations

Comedy series

Directing for a comedy series: Gary Halverson, “Finale”

Lead actor: Ray Romano

Lead actress: Patricia Heaton

Supporting actor: Peter Boyle

Supporting actor: Brad Garrett

Supporting actress: Doris Roberts

Writing: “Finale”

Multicamera picture editing

Multicamera sound mixing

Cinematography for a multicamera series

Guest actor: Fred Willard

Guest actress: Georgia Engel



2004

Comedy series

Lead actress: Patricia Heaton

Supporting actor: Peter Boyle

Supporting actor: Brad Garrett

Supporting actress: Doris Roberts

Guest actor: Fred Willard

Guest actress: Georgia Engel

Multicamera sound mixing

Multicamera picture editing



2003

*Comedy series

Lead actor: Ray Romano

Lead actress: Patricia Heaton

Supporting actor: Peter Boyle

*Supporting actor: Brad

Garrett

*Supporting actress: Doris Roberts

Writing:

“Counseling”

*Writing:

“Baggage”

Cinematography

for a multi-

camera series

Multicamera picture editing

*Multicamera sound mixing

Guest actress: Georgia Engel

Guest actor: Fred Willard



2002

Comedy series

*Lead actor: Ray Romano

Lead actress: Patricia Heaton

Supporting actor: Peter Boyle

*Supporting actor: Brad Garrett

*Supporting actress: Doris Roberts

Multicamera picture editing

Guest actress: Katherine Helmond

Multicamera sound mixing

Writing: “Marie’s Sculpture”

Writing: “The Angry Family”



2001

Comedy series

Lead actor: Ray Romano

*Lead actress: Patricia Heaton

Supporting actor: Peter Boyle

*Supporting actress: Doris Roberts

C
inematography for a multicamera series

*Multicamera sound mixing

Multicamera picture editing



2000

Comedy series

Directing for a comedy series: Will Mackenzie, “The Christmas Picture”

Lead actor: Ray Romano

*Lead actress: Patricia Heaton

Supporting actor: Peter Boyle

Supporting actor: Brad Garrett

Supporting actress: Doris Roberts

Writing: “Bad Moon Rising”

Cinematography for a multicamera series



1999

Comedy series

Directing for a comedy series: Will Mackenzie, “Robert’s Date”

Lead actor: Ray Romano

Lead actress: Patricia Heaton

Supporting actor: Peter Boyle

Supporting actress: Doris Roberts



1998

None



1997

None



Source: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences