CBS Wanted ‘Someone Hotter’ For Patricia Heaton’s Role On “Everybody Loves Raymond”
Patricia Heaton, well-known for her role as Debra Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond" that ran for nine seasons, almost didn't get the part.
Devoutly Christian Hollywood star Patricia Heaton almost didn’t get cast as Ray Romano’s wife Debra Barone on the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” because the network wanted a different actress to play the part.
Series creator Phil Rosenthal told Yahoo News that he “almost quit” the show because of CBS insisting on a particular actress to play the role of Debra Barone.
‘CBS Wanted Someone Hotter To Play Debra’
“CBS wanted someone hotter to play Debra,” he explained. “They insisted on this actress. I thought she was wrong, but I met with her and she was a very pleasant, very nice person. She wasn’t going to read for the role, but during the meeting I convinced her to read a little bit with me, and she was 10 times worse for the part than I thought she would be!”
In a meeting with CBS executives, including former CEO Leslie Moonves, Rosenthal proposed three actresses to play Debra: CBS’s pick and two other actresses. He went into this meeting assuming that he would end up leaving the show over this issue.
— Dustin Fitzharris (@TheDustinFitz) September 13, 2021
“Again, I didn’t have Patty yet; I didn’t even know she existed,” he recalled. “I did know that [Moonves] was going to say, ‘What about so-and-so,’ and if I don’t say, ‘Yes, let’s cast her,’ I won’t have a show. So that was the day I knew that I’d be quitting my own show.”
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Rosenthal Sticks To His Guns
When Moonves proposed the network’s choice of actress, Rosenthal said that this happened:
“I said, ‘I love her and I’ve loved everything she’s been in. I think she’s terrific and beautiful, but then she read for me and I have to tell you it’s just not what I wrote. I just don’t see them as a couple. I think she could do it, but I also think that maybe we could do better.
[Moonves] said, ‘Well, it’s just an idea.’ In other words, he let me slide and we agreed to keep looking! Two weeks later, Patty walked in and within five minutes she had the part. When it’s right, it’s right, and you know it immediately.”
This Paid Off For Rosenthal
In the end, this exchange led to Moonves naming Rosenthal as the sole show runner of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” This was something that Rosenthal’s agent informed him of days later.
“I asked him why the sudden turnaround, and he told me, ‘[Moonves] liked how you handled that thing with so-and-so,'” Rosenthal recalled. “It just goes to show you that if you stick to your guns — and maybe quit — they see you have some integrity.”
“So my advice to young people is to always quit!” he added. “I’m not saying quit on your first job, or if you’re dependent on it to be able to eat. But if it’s not your first job and it’s your own thing, that’s when you get to show your integrity. I can’t tell you how many shows have been ruined by the writers taking every note from the network and the studio and then the network goes, ‘This isn’t very good.’”
Heaton Won Two Emmy Awards
Here’s a video of Patricia Heaton from 2019 talking about God, drinking, and her show “Carol’s Second Act.”
Patricia Heaton would go on to win two Emmy Awards for her work on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which is still beloved by fans to this day.
We’re so glad that Rosenthal stuck to his guns, and got Heaton cast on the show!