“It’s great,” the current star of ABC’s Wednesday comedy “The Middle” tells Zap2it about her former “Everybody Loves Raymond” work spouse, who placed behind $24-million-earning Ashton Kutcher and tied with Hugh Laurie at $18 million on Forbes Magazine’s latest list of top moneymakers among TV stars.
“Ray and [writer-producer] Phil Rosenthal were the driving forces behind ‘Raymond,’ and they’re really detail-oriented people,” Heaton says. “Often, I get the question, ‘How much did you ad-lib on “Everybody Loves Raymond”?’ I’m actually asked that about ‘The Middle,’ too, and the answer is, ‘Not one single word.’ Not an ‘and,’ not a ‘the.’
“Everything is word-for-word what the writers have written … and if you don’t get it right the first time, you’ve got to go back and do it again. That’s because they know exactly what you should say, and how to say it, to get the joke across.”
As a result, two-time “Raymond” Emmy winner Heaton believes, “They earn every bit of what they are making. They gave themselves 110 percent to that show and worked really hard. I’m glad Ray is up there, because I think there are a lot of people on shows who are making a ton of money and are not very good actors, and the quality of their shows are not anywhere near that of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.'”
Also an executive producer of the Sunday, Dec. 2, Hallmark Channel movie “The Christmas Heart” — which her brother Michael wrote — Heaton is pleased that stand-up-comedy veteran Romano has continued working in TV, lately on NBC’s “Parenthood” and previously on TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age.”
“If money means anything in this world — and in this business, it certainly does — I’m glad Ray’s on that list,” she concludes. “And he should be. He should be No. 1 on it.”