Questions are surrounding hit TV show EVERYBODY LOVE RAYMOND after stars Patricia Heaton and Brad Garrett failed to show up on the set when production began on Monday (11AUG03).

The first day of production on the show's eighth season had to be postponed until yesterday (12AUG03), after the no-shows for the first table read. Heaton called in sick, according to TV network CBS, while Garrett's character ROBERT BARONE isn't a part of the first episode's plot.

But sources tell American trade publication DAILY VARIETY that representatives for Garrett informed CBS a number of weeks ago the actor wouldn't be showing to work until the network opened up talks on renegotiating his current pay-cheque.

At the moment, Garret earns under $200,000 (GBP125,000) per episode - less than any of the five main stars of the show - and as a result wants a pay rise.

Variety reports that rather than risk any production delays or rising costs, the network and producers decided before the first table read not to include Garrett's character in the season premiere. It is currently unclear if following episodes will include Garrett.

Heaton - who is not documented to be seeking a pay hike - and the show's supporting cast have expressed their desire to see the hit show continue next season - something which star Ray Romano has publicly leaned against. If the series fails to return next year (04) the stars stand to lose out on large sums of money.

13/08/2003 01:47