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Don't look for a supersized, super-stuffed final episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond." Television's most popular sitcom will end its nine-year run on May 16 with — get this — a half-hour show, CBS said Tuesday.
"We didn't want to milk the story into an hour," series star Ray Romano said. "There's been enough of that," added Phil Rosenthal, executive producer.
Of course, CBS will precede that 30 minutes with an hourlong retrospective to make it an attractive event for advertisers. The cast is filming the finale this week and keeping tightlipped on whether the battling Barone family will exit arguing.
The actors and Rosenthal said it will be an emotional week, but that they are walking away without any sense of unfinished business.
"The reason we're stopping is that we've done every single thing that we can think of," Rosenthal said. "We are bone dry."
Comic Brad Garrett, who plays Romano's brother, Robert Barone, said he hasn't been approached about a potential spinoff. "I love the character," he said. "I'm open to it."
"Supposedly there is a group of people that are out there talking about it that aren't talking to me," he quipped. "I hear they're looking for a Brad Garrett type."
Monica Horan, who plays Garrett's wife, Amy, said her interest in a spinoff would probably hinge on what her real-life husband wants to do. She's married to Rosenthal.
Taking a cue from NBC's strategy for the last year of "Friends" in 2004, CBS said it is asking viewers to vote next month on their favorite episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond." The top five vote-getters will be shown each Monday from Feb. 28 to March 28.
Fans can vote online for their favorites among 15 episodes selected by Rosenthal, with highlight clips shown on the network's Web site.
Since the first season, Rosenthal was producing what he hoped would be a timeless sitcom in an old television tradition.
"We're doing the show for CBS, but in the back of my mind we're doing it for Nick at Nite," he said. "We wanted the show to have lasting value."
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