Stalemate on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'

08/19/2003 at 01:00 PM EDT

Monday may have kicked off production on the CBS hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," but where was the love?

An even better question: Where was the cast?

While Patricia Heaton did return to work after calling in sick last week -- her call prompted a one-week delay in the start of shooting -- Brad Garrett continued his work strike to force a new pay raise, and both Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts called in sick, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Because of the salary dispute (which Garret's reps made public and which CBS has said it is refusing to budge on), Garrett's character of Robert had already been written out of the new season's premiere episode, according to the trade paper.

Garrett reportedly makes $160,000 per episode, significantly less than what his peers earn on other successful sitcoms.

The absence of Roberts and Boyle, who play Garrett's and star Ray Romano's parents on the show, fueled speculation that the actors also were jockeying with CBS for money.

A spokesman for Roberts, however, said she was still dealing with a knee injury sustained about 10 days ago during a photo shoot for a magazine at her Hollywood Hills home.

"She has nothing to do at all with what else is going on there," said rep Dale Olson. "It is just unfortunate timing."

Boyle was said to be under the weather after an adverse reaction to a prescription drug.

CBS had no comment on the situation.

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