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%dheadline(Reports: Romano to get $1.8M an episode%)

May 13, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ CBS loves ``Everybody Loves Raymond″ more than ever it seems, reportedly giving star Ray Romano a raise to about $1.8 million an episode next season.

The deal would make Romano the highest-paid actor in television, The Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety reported Monday.

The 45-year-old comedian, who plays a New York sportswriter on the popular sitcom, had been earning about $800,000 per episode for the past two years.

The agreement with CBS and ``Raymond″ producers Worldwide Pants and HBO Independent Productions will pay Romano around $40 million for a 22-episode eighth season, the trade newspapers reported. They cited sources they did not identify.

Romano’s new salary surpasses that of Kelsey Grammer, who has been making $1.6 million per episode of NBC’s ``Frasier″ since signing a $75 million, two-year deal two years ago.

CBS spokeswoman Janet Daily, who represents the network and Romano, confirmed to The Associated Press Monday that Romano had signed a one-year contract for the eighth season, but declined further comment. She said the contract length doesn’t indicate that the show will end after next season.

``Raymond″ ranked ninth this season among prime-time series and anchors CBS’ Monday night lineup.


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