As the truth sinks in, we have to accept that, yes, our favorite TV family really is calling it quits. But not just yet. The Barones have come back for 16 more episodes of CBS's smash hitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, which ends its run in May. Here, Ray Romano ponders his farewell season — and life after Raymond.
TV Guide Online: Why did you decide to come back for one final season?
Ray Romano: It was the stories. The whole thing wasn't the money, as much as it is [$1.8 million an episode] — and I apologize for that to everybody out there. It was all about, "Are we running it into the ground?" We just didn't want to compromise the quality of it.
TVGO: What's up for Raymond this year?
Romano: I [co-wrote] one of the first three [episodes]. The ones I write usually involve sex, so it's a lack-of-sex themed show. I believe I'll get lucky one evening, then the wife ends up having a big fight with the mother, which I think ruins it for me. But it actually turns out to be better. She lets out some anger, and it ends up being the best thing ever. So I end up trying to instigate fights, and of course, it backfires. And there's another sex-themed one. I discover the power of "no." I watch the ballgame instead [of having sex], and the next morning she's even more attentive to me. So I try to abuse that. My sex life is very dysfunctional.
TVGO: What will you do after the show's over?
Romano: I have a putting green I haven't used for five years. And I'm going to grow facial hair. I have a beard now for a movie I did [Grilled], but I know I can't have it for Raymond. That would mean we'd have to write an extra line, like, "Hey, what's with the beard?"
TVGO: Are you planning a movie career?
Romano: I swear I don't know. Who knows if movies is going to be a [successful] thing [for me]? After Welcome to Mooseport, I've gotta regroup. The idea of doing a one-camera show on HBO is entertaining. And who knows if I'll do another sitcom? The wife thinks I'm going to be home a lot more, so maybe you can correct her on that.
TVGO: So will the show have a happy ending?
Romano: As happy as it can be. How happy can I be?
TVGO: Would you ever do a Raymond reunion show?
Romano: Yeah, maybe in six months. Who knows? I just want to know if anyone on the show is even going to talk to me. Once again, I apologize for my salary.