Production on the sitcom's eighth season premiere was pushed back Tuesday after co-star Patricia Heaton, who plays star Ray Romano's wife on the show, called in sick for the second consecutive day, due to migraine headaches, Variety reports. As well, co-star Brad Garrett, who plays Romano's brother, has said he will not return to the series until contract negotiations are opened up and was subsequently written out of the season premiere.
Variety reports the actor's reps at Raw Talent decried in a statement released Tuesday morning CBS' unwillingness to discuss a pay hike.
"CBS elected to make a one-year deal with Ray Romano, making him the highest-paid sitcom actor ever," the statement read. "Ray deserves every penny, plus the profits he will earn. At the same time, despite our repeated attempts to discuss 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.
"All Brad wants is compensation commensurate with what other similarly situated actors have made in the past and are making today. Again, CBS will not talk to him. Instead, it is our understanding CBS simply instructed Phil Rosenthal to write Brad out of the series," the statement said. Raw Talent told Variety: "If we don't come to a fair deal, we feel comfortable walking away."
CBS, on the other hand, praised Garrett's work on the show and said it has negotiated new contracts twice with him in the past four years, Variety reports.
"We have accommodated Brad's request to negotiate new contracts twice over the past four years," the net said. "The most recent agreement calls for Brad's services through the eighth season of 'Everybody Loves Raymond.' It's unfortunate that he is not honoring his contract."
The production start was pushed back a week to Monday, CBS spokesman Chris Ender told The Associated Press Wednesday. The series' eighth season, however, will begin airing as scheduled on Sept. 22, he added.