On ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' Ray's brother Robert (Brad Garrett) often feels like nobody loves him, and now, Garrett apparently feels the same way. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he's staging a walkout from the top-rated CBS comedy, which was supposed to begin production of its eighth season this week, until he gets a raise. ''We've been trying to talk to [CBS] for many months about this,'' Garrett's manager, Doug Wald, told the Reporter. ''They've been nonresponsive. We're just looking for an appropriate deal.''
CBS recently gave star/coproducer Ray Romano a raise that makes him the highest-paid performer on TV; he'll earn around $45 million next season. Under the terms of his current contract, Garrett will earn about $4 million, or $150,000 per episode, which his camp says is less than the mid-six-figure fee that the supporting actors on other top sitcoms earn.
Plus, Garrett has become increasingly central to the show. Last season's arc concluded with Robert's marriage, and CBS is considering giving Robert his own spinoff if Romano and coproducer Phil Rosenthal decide, as they've hinted, to stop making the show after this season. And Garrett's walkout comes on the heels of an Emmy nomination and the announcement that he'll be one of the Emmy ceremony's hosts next month.
CBS responded to Garrett's absence this week with a statement noting that it has renegotiated his contract twice in the last four years, and that he's contractually obligated to show up for work. ''Brad Garrett is an enormously talented actor whom we hold in the highest regard,'' the statement read. ''It's unfortunate that he is not honoring his contract.
Also out this week is Patricia Heaton (who plays Ray's wife, Debra), who called in sick. While there's speculation that she's also holding out for more money (she's due a bonus if the show goes into a ninth season), reps for both CBS and the actress say that her illness is real and that she's seeing a doctor.