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Ray Romano Looking at Deal with HBO for Series

Ray Romano is back on the clock with "24" creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran.

The "Everybody Loves Raymond" star is looking to return to television as the lead in an HBO limited comedy series from Surnow and Cochran.

Talks are under way for the 10-episode single-camera project, now in early stages, that would star Romano as a fortysomething billionaire who has six months to live.

Dennis Klein, co-creator of one of HBO's signature comedies, "The Larry Sanders Show," is onboard to write the show, with Surnow and Cochran supervising as well as executive producing. Romano and Klein also are expected to executive produce the limited series.

Additionally, "24" showrunner Howard Gordon -- Surnow and Cochran's partner at their Real Time Prods. -- is expected to be involved in the project, though he has hands full running "24."

20th Century Fox TV, where Surnow, Cochran and Gordon are based, is producing.

The character rings close to Romano's real-life status as a fortysomething who has amassed a fortune from acting on his hit CBS series as well as from his ownership stake in the show, which continues its successful run in syndication.

Sources said Romano, Surnow and Cochran pitched the idea to HBO months ago, but the project remained dormant until recently, when HBO and the studio began discussions to put it in development.

Romano is no stranger to HBO. The cable network's division HBO Independent Prods. co-produced "Raymond." He also appeared on HBO standup comedy showcases early in his career.

He follows in the footsteps of Larry David (NBC's "Seinfeld") and Lisa Kudrow (NBC's "Friends") who chose HBO for the next stage in their TV careers after their blockbuster comedies ended.

Surnow and Cochran won an Emmy for writing the pilot of "24." The real-time thriller returns in January for its sixth season. Surnow, Cochran and Gordon also are busy working on the "24" feature that is slated to film in summer 2007.

Surnow is repped by Paradigm. Cochran is repped by APA. Both are additionally repped by attorney Michael Gendler of Gendler & Kelly.

Romano won an Emmy for his starring role on "Raymond" and shared two best comedy series Emmys with the rest of the show's producing team. He most recently voiced the character of Manny the woolly mammoth in the animated boxoffice hit "Ice Age: The Meltdown."

Romano, who is attached to star in an untitled comedy for Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies from writer Dean Lorey, is repped by WMA and manager Rory Rosegarten.

Klein, who received an Emmy nomination for co-writing the "Larry Sanders" pilot with Garry Shandling, is repped by Endeavor and attorneys Alan Wertheimer and Jeff Bernstein at Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum & Morris.

Nellie Andreeva writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

For more news from The Hollywood Reporter, click here.

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