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Love returns to ‘Raymond’

Garrett deal includes pay hike, backend share

This article was updated at 10:00 p.m. PT on August 26, 2003.

Peace has broken out on the set of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” with Brad Garrett closing a deal that will bring him back to the show today.

Details of Garrett’s deal weren’t disclosed, but industry insiders said the actor will get a substantial pay hike, retroactive compensation and as a slice of “Raymond’s” extraordinarily lucrative backend. In exchange, Garrett has agreed to remain with the show for a ninth season should the skein return in fall 2004.

Pact follows a separate agreement with series stars Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle that gives all three thesps a part of the show’s syndie profits (Daily Variety, Aug. 26.)

Garrett is expected to match Boyle and Roberts’ new pacts, which give the actors $250,000 per episode for season eight (or $6 million) and $315,000 per episode for a potential season nine (about $7.5 million). A retroactive pay hike for previous seasons will likely add at least $2.5 million to the tally, while Garrett will get a one-half point in the backend.

It’s unclear if the issue of a possible spinoff starring Garrett has been addressed — though it’s possible CBS and series exec producer Phil Rosenthal may have cooled on that idea in the wake of the salary squabble.

Garrett’s attorney, Michael Gendler, praised CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves for his handling of the situation.

“Les was incredibly statesmanlike,” said Gendler, who hammered out the pact with Garrett’s longtime managers at Raw Talent, Glenn Robbins and Doug Wald. The trio’s tenacity in insisting on a raise before Garrett came to work provoked the ire of CBS execs; it ultimately didn’t prevent a deal, however.

“Les really made this thing happen,” Gendler added. “When we started talking, it was handled very professionally and aboveboard.”

Gendler said HBO topper Chris Albrecht, whose company has a stake in “Raymond,” also made himself available to help in the negotiation process and was thus very helpful.

Rosenthal and star Ray Romano offered a lighthearted take on the resolution of the “Raymond” salary scuffle.

“We had a big contract negotiation. Now it feels like a hit show,” Rosenthal said.

Added Romano: “Brad? Brad was gone?”

With all the actors now locked in for two more years, a turbulent chapter in the otherwise peaceful backstage history of “Raymond” is now closed.

While all’s ended well, things seemed differently a few weeks ago. Garrett told the Eye he wouldn’t return to the set if he didn’t get a raise, while the other stars made it clear they weren’t happy with the idea of season eight being the final year for the show (Daily Variety, July 29.)

Heaton eventually called in sick for a week, while Boyle and Roberts each missed a day.

There’s never been any evidence to suggest the actors were coordinating their efforts like the cast of “Friends”; if anything, Garrett’s camp often seemed isolated from Heaton, Roberts and Boyle’s reps. Nonetheless, all four seemed to be on the same page when it came to insisting that CBS and the producers address their concerns over the possibility that this could be the final year for “Raymond.”