Romano Insists Everybody Will Be Happy

08/21/2003 at 01:00 PM EDT

Ray Romano says that the standoff involving costar Brad Garrett on the set of their hit CBS sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" is less serious than it seems. Not that anyone appears to be laughing.

Garrett, who is reportedly paid $160,000 per episode, is holding out for more moolah before he returns to the fold. Shooting on the new season commenced Tuesday, without him.

"I want everybody to get what they deserve -- and they will," Romano, 45, told TV's "Access Hollywood" in a segment that aired Wednesday.

"CBS has always been good and, sure, it's all going to work out," the star insists.

Romano, who receives an industry-record $1.8 million per episode, went on to say, "We're a family, and we want everybody back, and I hear good things. I hear we're close to coming together."

Romano called Garrett's displeasure and the surrounding news coverage -- which has been giving "Raymond" fans a lot of jitters -- "just par for the course, you know."

It's been a rocky two weeks for the show. Costars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle called in sick on Monday, which fueled speculation that they were sympathizing with Garrett, or even that they were demanding their own salary boosts.

They each get $250,000 per episode, while Patricia Heaton makes $450,000 per episode.

But 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, the first day of shooting took place a week later than originally scheduled, as Heaton, who plays the wife of Romano, called in sick last week. 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.

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

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