Maybe CBS will have to call the show, ”Everybody Loves [fill in the blank].” The network has a deal in place to keep its top sitcom, ”Everybody Loves Raymond,” on the air for two more seasons, but its deals with star Ray Romano and creator Phil Rosenthal last only one more season. If they bolt after the show’s upcoming eighth season, as they’ve both long spoken of doing, CBS will have to keep ”Raymond” going without Raymond. Or, as CBS Television chairman Les Moonves told reporters on Sunday: ”This could very well be its last season.”
Just because CBS recently made Romano the highest-paid performer in TV, with a salary for 2003-04 of about $43 million, doesn’t mean he’ll stick around for another $43 million in 2004-05. ”We’re working on them,” Moonves said of Romano and Rosenthal. ”I think money should have an effect when you look at those kinds of numbers. It’s very hard to walk away from that,” he said, addressing the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual gathering in Hollywood.
”The rest of the cast is dying to come back,” Moonves said, referring to Brad Garrett (Ray’s brother, Robert), Patricia Heaton (Ray’s wife, Debra), and Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle (Ray’s parents). ”We’ve talked about a spinoff with Brad Garrett: Let’s say he buys the house next door, and Ray is now covering soccer in Europe, but Patty and the kids are still there. We hope they’ll stay, but we’ll try to do another variation if not.” Moonves said the network will make a decision by January.