“Everyone Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal is on his way to New York today. He’s been going to do a guest spot on “30 Rock” which will air in April, I am told. The word is that Tina Fey wrote him a special role that is still top secret.
Luckily, Rosenthal’s appearance will coincide- by chance — with the April 29th opening of his very funny documentary, “Exporting Raymond,” about the remaking of his famous TV series in Russia. Samuel Goldwyn Company is releasing the film, which chronciles Rosenthal’s experiences advising a Russian TV company as they adapt “Raymond” for Russian audiences. The film is as dryly humorous as “Raymond” itself, as Russian TV execs prove to be as humorless as their American counterparts.
Meantime, Rosenthal is plotting his comeback to American TV but not at CBS where “Raymond” made millions. The talented writer is producing a one hour drama at HBO based on a novel called “Random Family.” The pilot was written by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, the author of the much praised novel. Apparently, there was a pitch for “Random Family” as a feature film. but Rosenthal saw its potential as a “Soprano’s” like series about a New York family.
As for the hilarious “Exporting Raymond,” I do think it has the potential to be a hit in theatres this spring. I’m still laughing when Rosenthal’s Moscow driver, a nice man, insists on taking him to his “favorite place”– it turns out to be a weapons exhibition. The guy is totally earnest and serious, but these Russians have to lighten up a little.