Phil Rosenthal

Show Creator/ Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Phil Rosenthal talks of his years growing up as a TV addict, and his fondness in particular for classic sitcoms such as The Honeymooners. He discusses the time he saw Ten From Your Show of Shows, a feature film compilation from Sid Caesar's popular variety show, which solidified his interest in show business. He describes his early years as an actor and writer in New York, and his transition to staff writing for Los Angeles based sitcoms A Family for Joe, Baby Talk, and Down the Shore. Rosenthal recounts writing and producing for the then already-successful series Coach, and details creating the popular sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. He outlines meetings with executives, discussions with Ray Romano, and the melding of his and Romano's own family backgrounds to create the show's characters and storylines. He talks about casting the series, the characters' relationships, and memorable episodes. Additionally, he shares the formula for writing a well-constructed sitcom episode and comments on the importance of writing from one's own experiences. Rosenthal also describes creating a television show for Peter O'Toole (which was not picked up), writing for President Bill Clinton, and acting in James L. Brooks' feature film Spanglish. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on April 13, 2005.

"Write very, very specifically and true to what you experienced. That's the way to hit everyone. All our lives deal in specifics, so even if your specific isn't my specific you understand the specific-ness itself, right? You understand that little thing that gets under the skin and gets the mother mad. You get it. You get it. This is the best thing I learned. This is what I've tried to inform in the writing - we're trying to not hit everyone, we're just trying to hit what's true and real to us. And that's where the universality is."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Phil Rosenthal on the pilot episode of Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the title of Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the best advice he ever received - from Ed. Weinberger
Phil Rosenthal on the story for the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on being asked to create a show for Ray Romano
Phil Rosenthal on his parents reactions to the show when it's so closely based on them
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early childhood and influences; on loving television when he was young; on wanting to be Art Carney; on acting in high school plays; on seeing sketches from Your Show of Shows for the first time and wanting to be Sid Caesar - a great comedy actor; on writing Tony and Tina's Wedding
On realizing acting may not be for him; on getting an agent at William Morris; on being a staff writer on the show on A Family for Joe with Robert Mitchum

Chapter 2

On working with Robert Mitchum on A Family for Joe; on working for Alan Kirschenbaum and Ed. Weinberger on Baby Talk; on the 3 most important things about writing sitcom scripts he learned from Alan Kirschenbaum; on writing for Man in the Family
On writing for Down the Shore and Coach; on splitting from writing partner Oliver Goldstick; on the cast of Coach and directing one episode; on writing a sitcom for Peter O'Toole and NBC not wanting it because O'Toole was too old

Chapter 3

On Coach, contd.; on writing a spec for Frasier; on being asked to create a show for Ray Romano; on the early ideas for Everybody Loves Raymond; on pitching Everybody Loves Raymond to CBS; on why he made Ray Barone a sportswriter on Everybody Loves Raymond; on writing what you know; on the pilot episode
On the reaction to the pilot episode of Everybody Loves Raymond; on director Michael Lembeck; on differences between Ray Romano and "Ray Barone"; on Ray Romano's development as an actor and his involvement with the show's writing

Chapter 4

On the Everybody Loves Raymond character "Ray Barone" and how he changed over time; on how Doris Roberts was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond; on how writing the show is therapy for him; on his parents reactions to the show when it's so closely based on them
On "Marie Barone"; on the relationship between "Ray" and "Marie Barone"; on the title of the show; on how Patricia Heaton was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond; on the network having doubts about him as a first time show-runner; on his job as show-runner being in jeopardy

Chapter 5

On his job as Everybody Loves Raymond show-runner being in jeopardy during Season One; on Les Moonves moving Everybody Loves Raymond from Friday to Monday; on the character "Debra Barone" and the relationship between "Ray" and "Debra Barone"; on how Brad Garrett was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond and the differences between Brad Garrett and "Robert Romano" and why the character with the least amount of power is always the audience favorite
On the relationship between "Ray" and "Robert Romano"; on the relationship between "Robert Romano" and his parents; on Bob Barker making a behind the scenes appearance on the set of Everybody Loves Raymond; on Brad Garrett's salary dispute
On how Peter Boyle was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond; on the character of "Frank Barone"; on Peter Boyle's heart attack 

Chapter 6

On Peter Boyle's heart attack, contd.; on his wife Monica Horan and her role as "Amy MacDougall" on Everybody Loves Raymond; on "Amy MacDougall's" family; on the genesis of the "Where's Lunch?" episode
On the writer's room of Everybody Loves Raymond and the dynamic between male and female writers; on the show's audience and music; on specific episodes of the show; on his involvement with editing

Chapter 7

On specific episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond; on the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond that got the biggest laugh; on his favorite episode of the show; on syndicating Everybody Loves Raymond; on a "take two"
On several pilots and other projects he's worked on; on writing jokes for Bill Clinton during Clinton's presidency and the short film President Clinton, Final Days; on America: A Tribute to Heroes and 9/11; on appearing as an actor in the movie Spanglish
On his proudest career achievement; on then-current projects; on writing a book

Chapter 8

On the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond; on CBS wanting him to do more shows
On filming the final episode of Everybody Loves Raymond; on the possibility of an Everybody Loves Raymond reunion and spin-offs; on other concepts he considered for the series finale; on the secrecy surrounding the final episode; on the final taping and where he would be when the episode aired
Shows

All in the Family

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Phil Rosenthal on loving All in the Family

America: A Tribute to Heroes

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Phil Rosenthal on America: A Tribute to Heroes and 9/11

Baby Talk

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Phil Rosenthal on working for Alan Kirschenbaum and Ed. Weinberger on Baby Talk

Coach

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Phil Rosenthal on writing for Coach; on the premise of the show
Phil Rosenthal on his final year at Coach

Down the Shore

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Phil Rosenthal on writing for Down the Shore

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Phil Rosenthal on being asked to create a show for Ray Romano and the early ideas for the program
Phil Rosenthal on the pilot episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and formulating the characters
Phil Rosenthal on the characters in Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on his job as Everybody Loves Raymond show-runner being in jeopardy during Season One
Phil Rosenthal on the Everybody Loves Raymond characters
Phil Rosenthal on his wife's role on Everybody Loves Raymond, the writer's room, the show's audience, and specific episodes
Phil Rosenthal on specific episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond; on syndicating the show
Phil Rosenthal on his proudest career achievement
Phil Rosenthal on the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond

Family For Joe, A

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Phil Rosenthal on being a staff writer on the show on A Family for Joe with Robert Mitchum
Phil Rosenthal on working with Robert Mitchum on A Family for Joe

Frasier

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Phil Rosenthal on writing a spec of Frasier

Honeymooners, The

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Phil Rosenthal on loving The Honeymooners when he was young

Late Show with David Letterman

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Phil Rosenthal on being asked to create a show for Ray Romano

Man in the Family

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Phil Rosenthal on writing for Man in the Family

Your Show of Shows

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Phil Rosenthal on seeing sketches from Your Show of Shows for the first time and wanting to be Sid Caesar
Topics

9/11

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Phil Rosenthal on America: A Tribute to Heroes and 9/11

Characters & Catchphrases

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Phil Rosenthal on differences between Ray Romano and "Ray Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on how Doris Roberts differs from "Marie Barone
Phil Rosenthal on "Marie Barone " - Everybody Loves Raymond's villain
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Ray" and "Marie Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on how the character "Ray Barone" changed over time
Phil Rosenthal on the Everybody Loves Raymond character "Ray Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the character "Debra Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Ray" and "Debra Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the differences between Brad Garrett and "Robert Romano" and why the character with the least amount of power is always the audience favorite
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Ray" and "Robert Romano"
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Robert Romano" and his parents
Phil Rosenthal on the character of "Frank Barone"

Memorable Moments on Television

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Phil Rosenthal on the "Wallpaper" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond

Pop Culture

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Phil Rosenthal on differences between Ray Romano and "Ray Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Ray" and "Marie Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on "Marie Barone " - Everybody Loves Raymond's villain
Phil Rosenthal on how Doris Roberts differs from "Marie Barone
Phil Rosenthal on how the character "Ray Barone" changed over time
Phil Rosenthal on the Everybody Loves Raymond character "Ray Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the character "Debra Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Ray" and "Debra Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the differences between Brad Garrett and "Robert Romano" and why the character with the least amount of power is always the audience favorite
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Ray" and "Robert Romano"
Phil Rosenthal on the relationship between "Robert Romano" and his parents
Phil Rosenthal on the character of "Frank Barone"

We Laughed

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Phil Rosenthal on the "Bad Moon Rising" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond

World War II

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Phil Rosenthal on being named after his grandfather and how his grandfather survived during World War II
Professions

Actor

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Phil Rosenthal on wanting to be a comedy actor like Art Carney

Show Creators

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Phil Rosenthal on the network having doubts about him as a first time show-runner for Everybody Loves Raymond

Writers

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Phil Rosenthal on transitioning from acting to writing and his first job as staff writer on
Phil Rosenthal on the 3 most important things about writing sitcom scripts that he learned from Alan Kirschenbaum
Phil Rosenthal on the writer's room of Everybody Loves Raymond and the dynamic between male and female writers
Genres

Comedy Series

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Phil Rosenthal on being a staff writer on the show on A Family for Joe with Robert Mitchum
Phil Rosenthal on writing for Coach; on the premise of the show
Phil Rosenthal on working for Alan Kirschenbaum and Ed. Weinberger on Baby Talk
Phil Rosenthal on writing a sitcom for Peter O'Toole and NBC not wanting it because O'Toole was too old
Phil Rosenthal on being asked to create a show for Ray Romano and formulating the ideas for Everybody Loves Raymond; on the pilot episode
Phil Rosenthal on the characters in Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the Everybody Loves Raymond characters
Phil Rosenthal on his wife's role on Everybody Loves Raymond, the writer's room, the show's audience, and specific episodes
Phil Rosenthal on specific episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond; on syndicating the show
Phil Rosenthal on the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond
People

Woody Allen

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Phil Rosenthal on the music for Everybody Loves Raymond being based on Woody Allen's "Manhattan"

Bob Barker

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Phil Rosenthal on Bob Barker making a behind the scenes appearance on the set of Everybody Loves Raymond

Peter Boyle

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Phil Rosenthal on how Peter Boyle was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond and the character of "Frank Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on Peter Boyle's heart attack
Phil Rosenthal on Peter Boyle's heart attack

James L. Brooks

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Phil Rosenthal on appearing as an actor in the movie Spanglish

Sid Caesar

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Phil Rosenthal on seeing sketches from Your Show of Shows for the first time and wanting to be Sid Caesar

Art Carney

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Phil Rosenthal on loving The Honeymooners when he was young
Phil Rosenthal on wanting to be a comedy actor like Art Carney

Tucker Cawley

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Phil Rosenthal on the "Good Girls" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond

Bill Clinton

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Phil Rosenthal on writing jokes for Bill Clinton during Clinton's presidency and the short film President Clinton, Final Days

George Clooney

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Phil Rosenthal on the stars of Baby Talk

Danny DeVito

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Phil Rosenthalon loving Danny Devito's character on Taxi

Julia Duffy

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Phil Rosenthal on the stars of Baby Talk

Jerry Van Dyke

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Phil Rosenthal on working with Jerry Van Dyke on Coach

Chris Elliott

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Phil Rosenthal on "Amy MacDougall's" family on Everybody Loves Raymond

Georgia Engel

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Phil Rosenthal on "Amy MacDougall's" family on Everybody Loves Raymond

Shelley Fabares

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Phil Rosenthal on working with Jerry Van Dyke on Coach

Bill Fagerbakke

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Phil Rosenthal on working with Bill Fagerbakke on Coach

Brad Garrett

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Phil Rosenthal on how Brad Garrett was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond and the differences between Brad Garrett and "Robert Romano"
Phil Rosenthal on Brad Garrett's salary dispute
Phil Rosenthal on the "Robert's Date" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond

Oliver Goldstick

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Phil Rosenthal on writing with partner Oliver Goldstick for Baby Talk, Down the Shore, Coach,
Phil Rosenthal on needing to establish himself as a writer once going solo

Patricia Heaton

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Phil Rosenthal on how Patricia Heaton was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the character "Debra Barone" and the relationship between "Ray" and "Debra Barone"
Phil Rosenthal on the "Bad Moon Rising" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on Patricia Heaton losing her voice when she was supposed to the tape the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond

Katherine Helmond

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Phil Rosenthal on meeting Katherine Helmond on

Judd Hirsch

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Phil Rosenthal on writing a sitcom for Peter O'Toole that Judd Hirsch wanted to be in

Monica Horan

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Phil Rosenthal on his wife Monica Horan and her role as "Amy MacDougall" on Everybody Loves Raymond

Barry Kemp

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Phil Rosenthal on writing for Coach and knowing nothing about sports

Alan Kirschenbaum

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Phil Rosenthal on working for Alan Kirschenbaum and Ed. Weinberger on Baby Talk
Phil Rosenthal on writing for Down the Shore

Michael Lembeck

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Phil Rosenthal on director Michael Lembeck

David Letterman

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Phil Rosenthal on David Letterman's involvement with Everybody Loves Raymond

Tom McGowan

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Phil Rosenthal on writing for Down the Shore and working with friend Tom McGowan

Robert Mitchum

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Phil Rosenthal on being a staff writer on the show on A Family for Joe with Robert Mitchum
Phil Rosenthal on working with Robert Mitchum on A Family for Joe

Leslie Moonves

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Phil Rosenthal on pitching Everybody Loves Raymond to CBS
Phil Rosenthal on Les Moonves having someone in mind to play the wife on Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the network having doubts about him as a first time show-runner for Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on Les Moonves moving Everybody Loves Raymond from Friday to Monday
Phil Rosenthal on the taping of the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond

Craig T. Nelson

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Phil Rosenthal on working with Craig T. Nelson on Coach

Peter O'Toole

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Phil Rosenthal on writing a sitcom for Peter O'Toole and NBC not wanting it because O'Toole was too old

Dean Parisot

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Phil Rosenthal on Dean Parisot being the previous occupant of where he lived in LA

Doris Roberts

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Phil Rosenthal on how Doris Roberts was cast on Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on "Marie Barone " - Everybody Loves Raymond's villain
Phil Rosenthal on Doris Roberts losing her voice when she was supposed to tape the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond

Ray Romano

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Phil Rosenthal on being asked to create a show for Ray Romano and formulating the ideas for Everybody Loves Raymond; on the pilot episode
Phil Rosenthal on the Everybody Loves Raymond character "Ray Barone" and how the character changed over time
Phil Rosenthal on the "Bad Moon Rising" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the "Italy" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond
Phil Rosenthal on the series finale of Everybody Loves Raymond

Lew Schneider

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Phil Rosenthal on writing for Down the Shore and meeting Lew Schneider
Phil Rosenthal on the "Wallpaper" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond

Jeremy Stevens

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Phil Rosenthal on the "Robert's Date" episode of Everybody Loves Raymond

Ed. Weinberger

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Phil Rosenthal on working for Alan Kirschenbaum and Ed. Weinberger on Baby Talk
Phil Rosenthal on the best advice he ever received - from Ed. Weinberger

Fred Willard

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Phil Rosenthal on "Amy MacDougall's" family on Everybody Loves Raymond

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