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Everybody Comes Back on Raymond

8/31/2003 08:00:00 PM Eastern

CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond got back to work last week, with hold-out Brad Garrett securing a pay raise and a small percentage of the show's syndication profits, retroactive through the show's first season.

Garrett's new deal increased his salary from $150,000 an episode, or nearly $4 million annually, to $250,000 an episode, a jump to $6 million annually. Garrett plays Robert, the jealous older brother of Raymond, portrayed by the show's star, Ray Romano.

"We had a big contract negotiation. Now it feels like a hit show," said executive producer Phil Rosenthal.

"I'm thrilled to be back working with the best cast on television," said Garrett. "CBS, Ray and Phil really stepped up to make this happen. I'm looking forward to the new season where I'll take the art of over-acting to a whole new level."

Garrett's salary increase—which brings him to the same level as Peter Boyle, who plays Raymond's father, and Doris Roberts, who plays his mother—is retroactive through at least last season, sources say. And his new backend stake, about one-half of a percentage point, is potentially worth another $5 million, sources say, if the show brings in the $1 billion or more in backend revenues that most predict. Heaton, who plays Raymond's wife, already earns more than Garrett, Roberts and Boyle, around $415,000 an episode, or about $10 million annually.

In May, Romano became the highest-paid star on television. CBS bumped his salary to $1.8 million an episode from about $850,000, to a minimum of $39.6 million annually. Romano also owns some 12.5% of the show's backend, sources estimate. So far, the show has been sold in only one cycle of syndication, with a second likely to start in the next few months.

With the salary structure so out of balance and Romano and Rosenthal talking about ending the show after this season, the rest of the cast became disgruntled. Ending the show a year early would have cheated them out of a year of salaries.

After expressing their discontent by calling in sick for parts of the first two weeks of production, Boyle, Roberts and Heaton received small backend stakes in the show as well, with Romano, Rosenthal, and production companies HBO Independent Productions and Worldwide Pants chipping in a small part of their percentages. Sources say CBS did not contribute because it owns only 10%, less than any other major party.

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