Roberts Puts New Spin on 'Raymond' Clan

01/26/2004 AT 01:00 PM EST

Doris Roberts, who plays the contrarian mother, Marie, on CBS's most-watched sitcom, "Everybody Loves Raymond," obviously acts out her screen persona off camera too.

She says she doesn't care if "Raymond" goes off the air at the end of the season this May, as is being threatened. That is, provided there's a new spinoff, featuring her and costar Peter Boyle ... though the show would center around the new in-laws of their other TV son, Robert (as played by Brad Garrett).

Speaking to the Associated Press Radio, Roberts, 78, says she is "sure this is in the minds of CBS people" and that Robert's other family -- played by Fred Willard, Georgia Engel and Chris Elliott -- are worthy of spinning off.

"They are totally different in their way (from the Barones), but certainly just as dysfunctional," says Roberts. She also thinks Frank (Boyle) and Marie could easily fit into a new format.

Not that Roberts is sending Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton packing so fast. She thinks another season of the one and only "Everybody Loves Raymond," which has been on the air since 1996, is possible, and, again in her Marie-like fashion, says she's told this to the powers that be. Though even she has her limits, she claims. "Now you just have to leave it alone," she says. "You can push just so far and then you get to be annoying. I can't imagine how CBS would let it go. I understand from the writers' point of view. If they can't come up with good ideas and new ideas that are not repetitive, they don't want to go on with that. But they're far from that this year, so I keep my fingers crossed."

She adds: "I'm sure CBS will find a way to make it work."

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