Ray Romano Says He Still Misses This Show – and It’s Not ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

Everybody Loves Raymond soared to the top of the ratings each week during its nine-season run. Loosely based on the lives of star Ray Ramono and show creator Phil Rosenthal, the sitcom made celebrities out of the cast including Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, and Peter Boyle.

When reflecting upon his career in a 2019 interview, Romano got wistful when discussing a former show that wasn’t on CBS.

Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'
Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ | Robert Voets/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Art imitates life on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

The sitcom was famous for incorporating real-life stories from Romano and Rosenthal. One legendary episode entitled “Bad Mood Rising” featured Debra (Heaton) going through PMS. The storyline rang a bell for Monica Horan (Amy McDougall), Rosenthal’s real-life wife.

“It was the PMS episode,” Horan told People in 2002. “I’m hearing lines from conversations I had with my husband. Ray was telling Debra to take medication, and she was telling him she needed a hug. I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I was crying, then laughing, then crying. It was surreal.”

Romano and Rosenthal weren’t the only ones who would get their personal lives written into the show. Several writers also had their home interactions played out on the air. Romano described how the plot for an episode entitled “Baggage” came about during a writers’ meeting.

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“That’s the one where [Ray and Debra] leave a suitcase on the staircase, which actually happened to the guy who wrote it, Tucker Cawley,” Romano recalled to TVLine. “We were in the writers’ room and Phil Rosenthal said, ‘Anything happen this weekend?’ And Tucker said, ‘I think I’m having a fight. I’m not sure. But there’s a suitcase on the staircase and nobody’s putting it back.’ And that became an episode.”

Ray Romano takes on ‘Parenthood’

When Romano took on the role of Hank Rizzoli, a photographer on the autism spectrum in NBC’s Parenthood, he wanted to venture into more dramatic work.

“I wasn’t doing it for the money at that time,” he explained. “I was doing it because I was a fan and [I wanted the] experience. … We had very small dramatic moments on Raymond, but it’s a different genre. And [in Parenthood] you can internalize and it still comes out … you are on a single camera show and everything gets read in the eyes and the face and in the subtleties.”

The former sitcom star relished exploring new material and character development, hoping to avoid being stereotyped as a Ray Barone persona.

“I love what I did on Raymond but I want to move on and play these kinds of roles now,” Romano said in 2014, according to Today.com. “When you’re in the living room every week for nine years as one character, it’s hard for some people to see you as someone else. I think my audience is broadening but it’s baby steps each time I play a role that is not that guy.”

Between ‘Raymond’ and ‘Parenthood’

In a 2019 interview, Romano discussed how the finale of Everybody Loves Raymond brought him to a crossroads in his life.

“When Raymond ended, I was at first very excited – not very excited for it to end, but excited that I was going to, I guess, see what life was like,” he told NPR. All of a sudden, you’ve got all this time. … but it was like coming out of a submarine.”

Mike Royce, a former writer for Everybody Loves Raymond, was apparently navigating the same new chapter. Romano and Royce decided to create a show based on their stage of life. Men of a Certain Age aired on TNT from 2009 to 2011, starring Romano, Scott Bakula, and André Braugher as college buddies going through the ups and downs of middle age.

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“It’s kind of this this weird, where am I, what am I doing now? What’s, you know, where’s my next passion and purpose? … and we said, let’s write about it,” Romano explained. “That’s where Men Of A Certain Age came out of. We won a Peabody Award, and then they canceled us. And I have to give credit to TNT because they put us on the air … but it ultimately didn’t find the right home, I don’t think.”

The dramedy clearly holds a special place in Romano’s heart, where he told NPR, “We still miss it. I still miss that show. It was a passion of both of ours.”