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Byline: Greg Hernandez Staff Writer

Nearly 33 million viewers watched the series finale of ``Everybody Loves Raymond'' on CBS just last week. But those who forgot to set their TiVo or VCR won't have to wait for a rerun to watch the Barone family's sitcom send-off: A DVD of the final episode hits stores today.

The rare single-episode DVD has a suggested retail price of $9.97, but major retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City are heavily discounting ``Everybody Loves Raymond: The Series Finale'' this week.

In addition to the final show, the disc also includes the pilot episode of the series which stars Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle.

``By just having little more than a week go by, you can cash in on this sort of warm, fuzzy nostalgia feeling people have,'' said Robert Thompson. ``A year from now, when cooler heads prevail, you would be a lot less likely to buy a single episode on DVD of a TV sitcom. Right after the show has aired is when people are still feeling that sense of loss.''

``Raymond'' was based on Romano's stand-up routine that targets married life from the male perspective. In all, 210 episodes of the series aired, and the first three seasons have all been released in DVD boxed sets with subsequent seasons to follow.

The final episode of the show was actually taped several months ago, which made it possible for the DVD to be available for release so soon after the episode's May 16 airing.

Last May, Warner Home Video similarly released the final episode of ``Friends'' just five days after its telecast. Even though that finale was watched by 50 million viewers, ``Friends: The Series Finale'' began its run as No. 1 on's best-selling DVD chart.

``It's a whole marketing thing,'' said Gord Lacey, president of ``It's amazing how quickly they are turning these things around.''

Greg Hernandez, (818) 713-3758





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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 24, 2005
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