The CBS hit comedy Everybody Loves Raymond ended in 2005 after 9 seasons on the air. It’s considered one of the best situation comedies in television history.
What many don’t know is that, after the show’s end, a spin-off comedy built around the character of Robert Barone was supposed to take place.
Unfortunately, it didn’t. Here’s what happened.
The character of Robert Barone was based on Ray Romano’s real-life brothers
Robert Barone on television was Ray Romano’s two real-life brothers rolled into one. He shared Ray’s brother, Rich’s, job as an NYPD sergeant, his marital status of divorced, and his living arrangements (at the time) in that he lived with his parents. But his name, Robert, came from Ray’s other brother.
The show even captured one of Rich’s quirky habits of touching objects to his chin.
“Ray’s brother does that. Rich really does that, if he’s sweating out a Yankees game … out of a nervous thing, he’ll touch the remote to his chin,” Garrett told the Television Academy Foundation in 2007. “He did it with remotes, he did it with food all the time … I think it’s kind of a nervous twitch. I think [Everybody Loves Raymond] helped him stop doing it.”
The ‘Robert Barone’ spin-off that didn’t happen – but then led to ‘Til Death’
Premiering in September 1996, Everybody Loves Raymond went on to become an Emmy-winning ratings smash hit.
After the show’s end in 2005, Brad Garrett had understood, as he told Television Academy Foundation in 2007, that a spin-off based on his character was a very good possibility.
“It came close,” he admitted, “but CBS didn’t pull the trigger in time. And we lost the writers. There’s no way I could do a spin-off without that writing team.”
Realizing the spin-off wasn’t going to happen, Garrett, 60, became open to other show ideas that were completely different from Robert Barone.
“If I was going to get a bunch of new writers,” Garrett explained, “I decided I might as well do a new idea. And if I was going to go back into TV, and not do Robert, I wanted to do 2 things: a character that was really the opposite of Robert and a character that was very much like myself.”
Brad Garrett happened upon ‘Til Death’
The 6′ 8″ actor landed upon a script for the comedy series ‘Til Death and was immediately impressed.
“And that’s when I read the ‘Til Death script…and I went, ‘wow, this really speaks to what compatibility [in marriage] after a few years really is.'”
Describing Eddie Stark, his character on the Fox comedy series that ran four seasons, Garrett started out discussing the character and went on to explain what modern marriage is all about.
“Well, Eddie is 90% of your married men out there that have made it to 20 years…,” he began. “Everyone says, ‘I married my best friend.’ You know, if I married my best friend, I’d be bass fishing right now. You don’t marry your best friend. What you hopefully try to do is marry someone who is a wonderful blending of your neuroses. That’s really what a marriage is.”