Here’s a man who knows how to get things done, sort of.
After illness and contract disputes delayed production on the upcoming season of CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond, crew members came thisclose to being docked for the lost time.
Instead, executive producer Phil Rosenthal pulled the necessary $80,000 in lost wages out of his own pocket and paid off the show’s crew to keep the gaffer and grip set from rebelling.
Now if only he’d pony up the couple of million necessary to get all the cast members back to work.
Production on the sitcom’s eighth season suffered a misfire two weeks ago with two actors MIA from the first table read.
Patricia Heaton called in sick with a monster headache while an increasingly bitter salary dispute between Brad Garrett and producers kept him off the set and his character, Robert Barone, from being written into the show’s first episode.
Garrett was due to return Monday but again was a no-show, forcing producers to write him out of the second episode.
Once Heaton returned it fell to veteran costars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle to call in sick on the first day of rehearsals. Roberts reportedly hurt her knee during a photo shoot for Glamour magazine (something about posing in a tree) and Boyle may or may not have been suffering an allergic reaction to prescription medicine.
Industry watchers predict money ills and not actual medical problems are behind all the sick days as the show’s stars angle for bigger paychecks–a charge the actors’ reps have denied.
While insurance reportedly covered much of the money lost when the CBS show was forced to postpone the taping of its premiere, close to 45 crew members stood to lose up to $80,000 in wages, according to source close to production.
Perhaps fearing a full mutiny, Rosenthal wrote out a check to make up for what the insurance didn’t cover.
CBS confirmed the move Monday but refused to comment further on the personal payout.
Rosenthal may be on to something. Industry insiders speculate that the executive producer, series star Ray Romano and other producers who own a piece of the show’s profits may all be forced to share the backend wealth in order to resolve the salary spats.
At stake for Heaton, Roberts and Doyle are their back-loaded contracts, meaning their substantial raises won’t kick in unless the series is extended for a ninth season, something Romano and Rosenthal have stated they’re against.
As for Garrett, his reps insist he won’t return to work until his salary is upped, using Romano’s recent $50 million deal as a springboard for their own demands.
In a statement released two weeks ago, Garrett’s representatives said, “CBS elected to make a one-year deal with Ray Romano making him the highest-paid sitcom actor ever. Ray deserves every penny, plus the profits he will earn. At the same time, despite our repeated attempts to dicuss Brad’s salary over the past seven months, CBS has refused to talk to us.
“Brad earns less than 10 percent of Ray’s salary and is the lowest paid member of a grossly underpaid supporting cast,” the statement continues. “All Brad wants is compensation commensurate with what other similarly situated actors have made in the past and are making today.”
In response, the network released its own statement: “Brad Garrett is an enormously talented actor whom we hold in the highest regard. It’s unfortunate that he is not honoring his contract.” A network source also said at the time that Garrett’s contract had been renegotiated two times in the past four years.
No immediate word on whether CBS will file a breach-of-contract suit against the actor, who won an Emmy last year for his supporting work on Raymond and is nominated again this year.