"Everybody Loves Raymond" creator Phil Rosenthal is lamenting that he cannot find a network or streaming service to produce a reunion special commemorating his hit show's 25th anniversary.
"Here's what I really can't believe," the Queens-born Rosenthal, 61, marveled in a call-in to "Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw" on the satellite radio channel SiriusXM Stars. "I've pitched to now a couple of different places: 'We can do a reunion special. We can tell stories of the things that have happened to us [series writers] at home, and then show a clip of the "Raymond" episode that that became. And I think it will be entertaining and funny, and you'll get a chance to catch up with the cast as they are now,' " he said, comparing the idea to HBO Max's May 27 reunion special for NBC's "Friends."
But, said the Hofstra University alumnus, he found "no takers."
"Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2005) starred Forest Hills-raised Ray Romano as Ray Barone, a Newsday sports columnist who lived with his family in Lynbrook, across the street from his parents. The show twice won the Emmy Award for outstanding comedy series, among other honors. The sitcom also starred Patricia Heaton as Ray's wife Debra, Brad Garrett as his brother Robert and the late Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle as his parents, Marie and Frank.
"Maybe," continued Rosenthal, "someone will hear this and say, 'Hey, this seems like a no-brainer.' I think people like the show; I think they would want to see the cast together again. I think they would like to revisit some of the highlights and outtakes from the show."
Naming no programmer specifically, Rosenthal reflected that, "Listen, this is the business we have chosen for ourselves." Networks and other entities "go for the money. If they see demographics that they want, they go for that. I'm not blaming them. Times are tough for them as well. And I'm not singling out any network. There are plenty of entities who have been involved with the show that could do a reunion show, and a reunion special certainly doesn't cost as much as producing a real episode of a show. It's people sitting in chairs, and then you have clips."
Following "Raymond," Rosenthal went on to adapt the show for Russian television, a journey he chronicled in the 2010 documentary "Exporting Raymond." His other ventures include producing and starring in two food-travel documentary series, PBS' "I'll Have What Phil's Having" and Netflix's subsequent "Somebody Feed Phil."