It's been 15 years since "Everybody Loves Raymond" finished its official broadcast run, but it's still the kind of show that can get you through a pandemic.
"I've basically spent the pandemic sitting in front of the TV watching reruns of 'Raymond,' and I laugh every time," star Patricia Heaton told TODAY.
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Heaton announced on Oct. 12 that she would be participating with some of her fellow cast members — including Ray Romano and Brad Garrett — in a special reunion table read of six scenes this Friday, to raise money for charity (the International Myeloma Foundation). That brought them back together to revisit episodes and scripts, and for a segment that aired Tuesday, the gang gathered virtually to talk to TODAY about the show's almost "Seinfeld"-ian enduring appeal.
"It's hard to just watch it from a neutral standpoint," said Romano, who starred as Ray Barone, husband to Debra (Heaton). He was also an executive producer on the series, which won 15 Emmy Awards, including at least one for most of the major cast. "It was great to experience it now. I recommend (re-watching) it to anybody who's had a show that's been off the air for 15 years."
He noted that the casting was critical to the series. The show auditioned over 200 women before finding Heaton, who Garrett said was "the anchor" of the show. "She played this strong woman who wouldn't take anyone's crap."
"Raymond's" nine-season run has become a big hit in syndication, with reruns introducing the classic show to a whole new generation of fans. But when the idea of a full-scale reunion or reboot comes up, the cast indicates it seems unlikely, largely because stars Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts have passed on (in 2006 and 2016, respectively).
"We've kind of agreed that that probably will never, not probably, it won't happen with us," said Romano. "We're missing Peter, we're missing Doris, we're missing the crux of the show. This is kind of as close as it'll get to us performing again, the show."
The good news is that all the "Raymond" you could want is currently streaming on Peacock.
"We were very lucky to get a cast like this," said Garrett. "We had a chemistry early on you can't predict and can't plan."
Peacock is part of our parent company, NBCUniversal.