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Sony Writes New Chapter for Russian 'Raymond'

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is starting development on a new season of 60 original episodes of the Russian adaptation of U.S. hit comedy Everybody Love Raymond, which will features original scripts using new storylines developed by Russian and U.S. writers. The episodes of the show, which is known locally as The Voronins, will air later in 2012 for Russian broadcaster CTC.

The development of a new season of the show comes after Sony successfully adapted all 210 U.S. scripts for the Russian version of the comedy that aired on CTC. The U.S. scripts ran out at the end of the last season and the new season will feature new scripts developed by a team of Russian and U.S. script writers working in Moscow.

The decision to develop new scripts marks the first time that a full season of the format will be written and produced outside the U.S. with scripts that continue the storyline beyond what occurred in the U.S. original series.

"SPT's local sitcom adaptations have thrived in Russia to such an extent that demand for local adaptation is outstripping the original U.S. supply," noted Maria Smirnova, VP and general director Sony Pictures Television Productions Russia, in a statement. "We're really looking forward to seeing what the two development teams create and are very proud to have helped build several teams of promising young writers through our work on The Voronins."

Production is expected to begin in the spring or summer of 2012 with broadcast later in the year. U.S. consultant Jeremy Stevens, who worked on the original U.S. series, will work with the Russian writers on the new scripts.

Local adaptations of U.S. series have been very popular in Russia in recent years.

SPT's production studio in Russia has also started shooting season six of Married...with Children (known locally as Happy Together) for the TNT channel in Russia, with a 50 episode order.

Separately, this month SPT will also launch its Russian version of the CBS sitcom, The King of Queens (known locally as Newlyweds), also for CTC.

Other international adaptations of Everybody Loves Raymond are currently being produced in the Middle East, Poland and Israel.