Patricia Heaton Talks Teaming Up With Ray Romano For ‘The Middle’ Season Premiere

Ray Romano made a splash back in May when he attempted to win over the Dunder Mifflin committee seeking a new manager on “The Office,” and on Wednesday, he’ll be crashing into “The Middle.”

On the upcoming season premiere of the ABC comedy, Raymond teams up once again with his “Everybody Loves Raymond” co-star, Patricia Heaton, playing a different kind of character – Nicky, described as a “sad-sack.”

“Think Eeyore from ‘Winnie the Pooh,’” Patricia told Access Hollywood of his character’s description. “Did that explain it?”

Raymond enters the episode after Mike (Neil Flynn) takes wife Frankie (Patricia) and the kids camping as a sort of last summer hurrah, only to bring back some rather unpleasant memories of the couple’s honeymoon, which was interrupted by Nicky (Ray).

“It just kind of goes from one disaster to another as we flash back to the honeymoon and Ray shows up. He’s lost in the woods and shows up on our honeymoon night,” the actress said. “It’s really fun and it’s so great, because they used Ray in such a perfect way that’s organic… It fit perfectly with Ray and his personality.”

With Patricia and Ray having played husband and wife on the 9-season sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” did the writers see fit to give Ray’s “The Middle” character a little crush on Frankie?

“I don’t want to give too much away, but the writer’s took advantage of the fact that Ray and I did a show together before,” she said.

Patricia previously told Oprah Winfrey on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that while shooting the final episode of their sitcom together, Ray actually gave her direction before a big emotional scene. However, this time around, it was “The Middle” crew that offered Ray some advice.

“He’s such a sweetheart, and he’s really about trying to make the best show that he can make. I think what he was surprised [by] on our show is you have to be word perfect, as far as the script,” she explained. “When you miss even an article — an ‘and’ or a ‘the’ or you put something in the wrong place — the script supervisor will walk up to you in between each take and give you notes on what words you’ve missed.

”[Ray] said, ‘Is this always this way on that show?’ and I said (teasingly), ‘Yeah, we’re professionals over here, Ray. I don’t know what sort of schlop you were doing on ‘Men of A Certain Age,’ but yeah, we do the scripts as written,’” she continued with a laugh. “So I think he was surprised.”

“The Middle” returns with “Forced Family Fun,” Parts 1 and 2 on September 21 at 8 PM ET on ABC and Patricia thinks the end result will delight fans of “…Raymond,” which ended its run in 2005.

“People want to see Ray and I together again, and I think they thought it would be fun for the audience too… So many fans of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ are now fans of ‘The Middle,’” she said. “I got such a huge kick out of it and I know the audience will.”

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