LATEST: Production on the season premiere of Everybody Loves Raymond was pushed back again yesterday (12AUG03) after Patricia Heaton called in sick for the second day in a row.

Her two-day absence, officially due to a migraine headache, has added to already-existing problems between the show's bosses and her co-star Brad GARRETT, who was written out of the first episode of the new season after he refused to return to work until TV network CBS discussed his pay rise.

Garrett's representatives say in a statement, "CBS elected to make a one-year deal with Ray Romano making him the highest-paid sitcom actor ever.

"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 even months, CBS has refused to talk to us. Brad earns less than 10 per cent of Ray's salary and is the lowest paid member of a grossly underpaid supporting cast."

Garrett's representatives at RAW TALENT agency add, "If we don't come to a fair deal, we feel comfortable walking away."

CBS responds, "We have accommodated Brad's request to negotiate new contracts twice over the past four years. The most recent agreement calls for Brad's services through the eight season of Everybody Loves Raymond. It is unfortunate that he is not honouring his contract."

Sources say Heaton and co-stars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle are also unhappy with their pay-cheques.

13/08/2003 20:54