Unlike actors from other CBS series of late think Judging Amy's Tyne Daly and the Becker cast Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton didn't have to call in "sick" to wrangle herself a multimillion-dollar raise. But if the cagey Emmy winner has a bargaining secret her new two-year deal reportedly is worth $250,000 an episode she's not sharing it.
"I'd just like to say that CBS has always supported our show," Heaton gingerly tells TV Guide Online. "Even when it was like, 76th in the ratings, [CBS president] Les Moonves was very much behind it. He's the reason we're still on the air. They moved us to a good timeslot and allowed us to find our audience. In my [contract] renegotiation, they continued to behave in a really honorable and supportive way, and I'm thrilled to be part of the CBS family."
Fortunately, it's unnecessary for Heaton to wax so diplomatic when playing harried wife and mom Debra Barone on Raymond. For example, in last week's season premiere, "we all got to sound off about what's bothering us about our family," she recalls. "I basically just told [the kids'] school teacher how impossible it is to be a mother in this family."
What's made this so-called "low concept" sitcom which notched its highest ratings ever last week such a hit? "It's all believable stuff people have experienced in their own lives," Heaton smiles. "All families are dysfunctional to some extent. In that way, it reflects my family. Not myself
, of course, but other members of my family are highly dysfunctional!"