Romano Here to Stay – For One More Year
Everybody loves extended goodbyes: CBS on Sunday announced that it has closed the deal to keep its top-rated comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond, for a ninth (albeit final) season this fall.
With NBC's Friends now out of the picture, the Emmy-winning Raymond, which features the musings of the loving but sparring Barone family on suburban Long Island, N.Y., earns the distinction of being the No. 1 sitcom on TV.
Yet, just as Friends did this past season, Raymond, starring Ray Romano, will conclude its network run with fewer than the usual 22 episodes that comprise a complete sitcom season, Reuters reports. Next year, there will only be 16.
The future of Raymond had been in doubt since series star Ray Romano and series creator and executive producer Phil Rosenthal indicated publicly last year that it was time to call it a day before the show ran out of ideas.
But in a statement Sunday, Rosenthal said that he, Romano and the show's writers met a few months ago and decided they could come up with enough new material to keep the laughs coming.
"The decision about coming back was always about maintaining the quality, and not feeling like we've overstayed our welcome," Romano, who plays sports columnist Ray Barone, said in a statement. "I look forward to being a hapless, sexless husband once again in year nine."
Romano, 46, is reputedly the highest-paid sitcom star on TV, reportedly earning between $1.7 million and $2 million per episode this past season.
There had been a salary dispute at the start of this season involving actor Brad Garrett, who plays put-upon cop Robert Baron, and costars Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts were said to be in sympathy with Garrett. His contract eventually was renegotiated.
"Our decision had nothing to do with money for Ray or me," Rosenthal said. "Emotionally, we never want the show to end, but everything must."
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