Almost Everybody Back at 'Raymond'

08/20/2003 at 01:00 PM EDT

Tuesday was a better day on the set of the CBS hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," where costars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle returned to work so shooting could begin for this coming season.

The two called in sick on Monday, which fueled speculation that they were sympathizing with protesting costar Brad Garrett, who wants a substantial pay hike. Some even suggested that Roberts and Boyle, who play the parents on the show, were demanding their own salary boosts.

But, as Reuters reports, Roberts was absent because of a knee injury she sustained during a photo shoot for a magazine earlier this month, according to her spokesman. Boyle, meanwhile, was waylaid by a reputed adverse reaction to a prescription drug.

As it was, this first day of shooting took place a week later than originally scheduled, as Patricia Heaton, who plays the wife of star Ray Romano, had called in sick last week. Her absence had forced the delay.

The season-premiere episode of the show has Garrett's character Robert written out of it, even though last season ended with him getting married.

Garrett, who won an Emmy for playing Raymond's put-upon brother, has declared his intention not to return to the show until his estimated $150,000-$160,000-per-episode salary is increased.

According to New York's Daily News, Heaton earns $450,000 an episode (or $10 million a season); Roberts and Boyle, $250,000 ($6 million a season) each; and Romano, $1.8 million per show -- the largest ever for a TV star.

CBS has said it's not budging on Garrett's contract, which the News says was negotiated before "Raymond" became the most-watched sitcom on TV.

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