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Tampa the backdrop for 'Raymond'

By ERIC DEGGANS

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2001


Even after this year's Super Bowl is done, CBS will spend a little more time showcasing the Tampa Bay area, through a Monday episode of its hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond set at the big game.

During the show, sportswriter Ray Barone (played by Ray Romano) arrives in Tampa for the game, only to discover that all the other writers brought their wives. After he flies wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) into the city, Barone discovers he may have ruined the greatest day in his life as a sports fan.

To help producers recreate Tampa's Super Bowl flavor in California (where the episode was actually filmed), officials at the Tampa/Hillsborough film office sent T-shirts with huge Tampa Super Bowl logos, Tampa telephone directories and maps of Ybor City.

"I just asked (Raymond producers) "Is the weather good in the show. . . . Does he have a good time?"' said Tampa/Hillsborough film commissioner Edie Emerald of the episode, which airs on WTSP-Ch. 10 at 8 p.m. Monday.

In the weeks leading to the Super Bowl, Emerald says, the office has fielded requests for location information and production help from TV producers in Germany, Japan, England and across America -- doubling the normal amount of work.

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