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Romano Looks Beyond 'Raymond'

Ray Romano (search) could return to series television once "Everybody Loves Raymond" wraps its nine-season run next May.

"I haven't ruled anything out...but would I do a sitcom right away? Probably not," Romano told The New York Post. "I don't see a network sitcom in the near future, but I'm not going to rule out doing anything on TV again.

"Would I do something on cable, maybe a half-hour, single-camera thing? That appeals to me," he said. "Something funny, maybe dark, a little more uncensored. "

Romano's first big-screen movie, "Welcome to Mooseport," (search) struck out at the box office, but he'll be seen in two upcoming movies, "Eulogy" (Oct. 29) and "Grilled," targeted for a 2005 release.

"Hopefully one of these next two movies will do well," he said. "My track record is not that good — I'm 0-for-1, I think, as far as the box office goes. But I really haven't planned it all out yet."

Romano called to discuss the release of the first season of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (search) on DVD (HBO Video), which hits stores next Tuesday.

Included among the DVD's many "extras" is audio commentary from Romano and series creator Phil Rosenthal leading viewers through the show's pilot episode and first-season finale.

"It was strange — I don't know if you have it documented how much you've aged over the last nine years, so that was weird," Romano said of watching those first-season episodes.

"It was also nostalgic and fun. Everybody [in the first season] was learning — the writers and actors were all trying to find their characters.

"Toward the end of the first year there was a rhythm we didn't have in the beginning," he said. "I got a little more confident and sure of myself and of who the character was."

"Raymond," TV's top-rated comedy, revolves around Long Island sportswriter Ray Barone (Romano), his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton (search)), and their kids — who live across the street from Ray's meddling parents (Peter Boyle, Doris Roberts). Brad Garrett (search) plays Ray's sad-sack brother, Robert.

"In the beginning, Robert was like this big, goofy, almost mentally challenged guy, but the character went in a different direction," Romano said.

"You also remember what was going on in your life at that time. My son was born during one of the episodes, Patty [Heaton] was pregnant and Brad [Garrett] went through like a 50-pound weight change from the first season to the second season."

Romano said "every emotion" will hit him this year as "Raymond" signs off for the last time.

"Every creative moment for the last nine years has been dedicated to this show...There's going to be an emptiness and a void there [when it's over]," he said.