After Raymond, will everybody love Robert?

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Brad Garrett wasn't just being optimistic during the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast Sunday when he hinted at the possibility of an Everybody Loves Raymond spin-off coming together in the near future.

Negotiations for a Raymond spin-off revolving around Garrett's woebegone character, Robert Barone, his wife, and in-laws are said to have heated up at CBS during the past two weeks, sources said Monday.

Raymond wrapped its nine-season run in May but enjoyed a last hurrah Sunday when it beat out favorite Desperate Housewives for outstanding comedy series Emmy. Garrett also walked away from Sunday's awards with his third supporting-comedy-actor trophy for his work on the much-decorated sitcom.

"You know, we should try to be a little funny because there may be a spin-off," Garrett joked as the cast of Raymond gathered onstage at the Shrine Auditorium one last time to collect the comedy series statuette.

Talks for a Garrett spin-off have in fact been on-again, off-again for some time, but sources said the various camps involved had made significant progress on outstanding issues during the past week. Sources said there is a strong possibility that Raymond creator and executive producer Phil Rosenthal will come back on board as showrunner with a number of the scribes who worked alongside him on Raymond for years.

Sources said the cast members eyed for the spinoff include Raymond regular Monica Horan, who played Robert Barone's wife, Amy (and is Rosenthal's real-life wife); Fred Willard and Georgia Engel as her parents; and Chris Elliott as her brother.

A CBS spokesman confirmed Monday that the negotiations have had renewed momentum during the past few weeks, but he stressed that no formal agreement is in place.

Details of the advanced Raymond spin-off negotiations were first reported Monday on the New York Times Web site.

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