08/13/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
Emmy winner Brad Garrett, who plays put-upon brother Robert Barone in the CBS hit "Everybody Loves Raymond," does not intend to return to the show unless he gets a hefty pay raise, his reps tell the Hollywood Reporter.
"We've been trying to talk to (CBS) for many months about this," Doug Wald, Garrett's manager at Raw Talent Management, tells the trade paper. "They've been non-responsive. We're just looking for an appropriate deal."
Wald declined to spell out what Garrett, 43, currently makes, but the paper estimates it to be about $150,000 an episode -- significantly less than the mid-six-figure fees taken home by costars on such equally successful sitcoms as "Frasier" and "Will & Grace" (both on NBC).
The show's headliner, Ray Romano, 45, earlier this year renegotiated his deal and will now earn nearly $2 million per episode as well as hold a profit participation in the show.
On Tuesday, CBS issued a statement saying it had renegotiated Garrett's contract twice in the past four years, and that the actor is contractually obligated to appear in the Monday night staple's upcoming eighth season.
"Brad Garrett is an enormously talented actor whom we hold in the highest regard," CBS said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that he is not honoring his contract."
Although it remains unclear whether CBS will instigate legal action against Garrett, the network did order the show's creator-executive producer Phil Rosenthal to write him out of the first episode, says the Reporter. (Last season ended with Garrett's character finally getting married.)
As it was, production on the new season, which was to begin Monday, was delayed, due to the illness of Patricia Heaton, who plays Ray's wife, Debra.