15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’
The relatable family comedy — or nail-biting horror story, depending on one’s proximity to their in-laws — Everybody Loves Raymond lasted for nine seasons on CBS and raked in enough Emmys to fill a modest Long Island home. While America’s favorite show about a Kermit-voiced sportswriter may be done for good, behind-the-scenes factoids live on forever, so we’ve gathered a bunch for you to rub in the face of your bitter older brother who lives across the street…
It Was Produced By David Letterman
Ray Romano landed a development deal with Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants just one week after performing on The Late Show for the first time in 1995. As Romano later recalled, “Dave liked my act, and he was interested in pursuing a development deal for a television sitcom.” Never before or since has jingling car keys been so lucrative.
Creator Phil Rosenthal Was Paired With Romano Thanks to… ‘Frasier’?
Rosenthal was writing for the hit show Coach but had to pen a new script in order to look for work. So he hammered out a Frasier spec script, which for some reason found its way to Worldwide Pants, who then paired him with Romano to develop a show that in no way involved Seattle radio psychiatrists.
Romano’s Original Idea Was Just ‘Seinfeld’
According to Rosenthal, Romano originally wanted to make a show about a “comedian who sits at a coffee shop and talks to his friends about current subjects.” That was the moment Rosenthal had to point out that the exact show Romano was describing already existed in the form of Seinfeld, which was a major hit by 1995. So they instead combined elements of their respective family lives into a new project.
The Title Came From Romano’s Brother’s Jealousy Over a Cable Ace Award
One member of Romano’s family, his brother Richard, who was at that point a police sergeant, noticed that his brother Ray had won a Cable Ace Award (a thing that hasn’t existed since 1997) for stand-up comedy. He bitterly responded: “It never ends for Raymond. Ehhhverybody loves Raymond!” And thus, a title was born.
The Real Robert Barone Quit the NYPD to Investigate the ‘Homicide of Jesus Christ’
The inspiration for Raymond’s older cop brother Robert was the aforementioned Richard Romano, who subsequently left the NYPD in order to solve mysteries involving… Jesus? He’s written books such as The Investigation into the Homicide of Jesus Christ. We don’t want to judge a book by its cover, but wow.
Peter Boyle Was the ‘Exact Opposite’ of His Character
Boyle, who passed away in 2006, played Raymond’s curmudgeonly father Frank, but in reality, Boyle was the “exact opposite” of his character, according to Romano. Boyle was a sensitive intellectual who once “spent two years in a monastery with a vow of silence” and had John Lennon serve as the best man at his “informal, non-denominational” wedding.
Doris Roberts and Boyle Got Along Right Away
The late Roberts’ chemistry with Boyle was immediate. She once said in an interview, “When Peter Boyle and I met for the first time on the show, it was as if we had known each other for 45 years. We got more laughs just giving each other dirty looks than anything else. I loved him.”
Romano and Rosenthal Had to Fight CBS to Cast the Right Debra
Rosenthal “almost quit the show” because the network wanted someone “hotter” to play Raymond’s wife, Debra. Rosenthal rejected CBS’ picks and insisted on continuing to look for the right actress, eventually hiring Patricia Heaton.
Romano’s High Salary Prompted His Co-Star to Stage a Walkout
Invalidating the show’s title to some degree, Brad Garrett made headlines in 2003 for staging a protest on the set, walking out and refusing to come to work for two weeks. This was all over the disparity of pay between cast members, which came to light after it was reported that Romano had landed a deal to make “$1.8 million per episode, plus a slice of the syndication fees,” which were “expected to reach $1 billion.” Thanks to Garrett’s actions, he got a raise from the network, and the “entire cast” got a piece of the syndication money.
Someone Stole A Truck Full of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ VHS Tapes
In 1998, there were reports that a truck loaded with “nearly 10,000” VHS tapes of Everybody Loves Raymond to distribute to Emmy voters was stolen. Rosenthal jokingly accused Frasier star Kelsey Grammer.
Judd Apatow Pitched Episode Ideas Between Movie Projects (With No Success)
Apatow once revealed that between movie projects, he would randomly call up Rosenthal and pitch him ideas for Everybody Loves Raymond. According to Apatow, Rosenthal “would listen and smile and always tell me that they had done something similar during a previous season. I kept trying to pitch him episodes and I always failed.” This may explain the shout-out to show in Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
More Than 32 Million People Watched the Finale
When Everybody Loves Raymond ended (sadly, with no twist involving a magic snow globe or the revelation that Raymond was stuck in purgatory for nine years), it was reportedly viewed by a whopping 32.1 million people.
It Has A Long-Running Russian Remake
The longest-running foreign remake of a U.S. show is Voroniny, Russia’s version of Everybody Loves Raymond — the development of which was chronicled in the 2010 documentary Exporting Raymond.
And It Was Remade in A Ton of Other Countries, Too
In addition to Russia, myriad other countries have their own adaptations of the show — everywhere from Egypt to the Czech Republic to the Netherlands, where it’s called Everybody Is Crazy About Jack (which, frankly, is a better title).
There Were ‘No Takers’ for a Reunion Special
Despite the show’s popularity, Rosenthal has reportedly pitched a new Everybody Loves Raymond “reunion special” where they could revisit “highlights and outtakes from the show” in the vein of the recent Friends reunion. But there have been “no takers” so far — possibly because everybody has the ability to Google “Ray Romano’s salary.”
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