CBS signs Ray Raymano for ninth and final season of sitcom

MUMBAI: The days of the sitcom are numbered. Friends and Fraiser recently said goodbye. However Viacom's broadcaster CBS has managed to convince comic Ray Romano to return for yet another season of the comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. In India the show airs on Star World.

The ninth and final season will have 16 episodes instead of the usual 24. The future of the show had been in doubt because Romano and the shows creator Phil Rosenthal said that they did not have too many fresh ideas.

Of course Romano does not need to hang around simply because he earns only a few thousand. The current season sees him earn over $30 million.

The deal reflects the fact that CBS believes it needs the show to anchor Monday night. Reports indicate that three months ago Rosenthal and Romano realised that they had enough material for one more year. An AP report indicates that this week, broadcast networks announce their schedules for later in the year to advertisers. They will then decide to buy about $9 billion worth of commercials. CBS announces its schedule on Wednesday.

CBS' recently launched show Two and a Half Men has done reasonably well in the ratings among 18-49 year olds. However it is not clear as to how much of its growing strength stems from its "Raymond" lead-in -- and how much would remain once Ray Romano calls it a day.

On the show Brad Garett plays Ray Romano's brother. There is a slim possibility that CBS might sign on Brad for a spin off once Everybody loves Raymond goes off air. It may be recalled that NBC has decided to do a Friends spinoff Joey with Matt LeBlanc.

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