By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 21, 2003 08:56 AM

Ray Romano and “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal are strongly hinting that next season will be their last, but CBS isn’t so willing to let go of its hit sitcom.

Speaking to members of the TV Critics Association over the weekend, CBS chairman Leslie Moonves — admitting that Romano may be a goner after eight seasons — said: “The rest of the cast is dying to come back.”

As quoted by USA Today, Moonves, putting his imagination into high gear, went on to say, “We’ve talked about a spinoff with Brad Garrett: Let’s say he buys the house next door, and Ray is now covering soccer in Europe, but Patty (Heaton) and the kids are still there. We hope they’ll stay, but we’ll try to do another variation if not.”

Moonves also suggested that more money — Romano is already making $43 million for the next season — and the return of Rosenthal could convince Romano, 45, not to leave, New York’s Daily News reports. A final announcement is due in January.

In other TV news, actor James Brolin, 62, who for the past five years has been married to outspoken Democrat Barbra Streisand, will play former Republican President Ronald Reagan in a two-part CBS movie scheduled for November, “The Reagans.” (Judy Davis is set to play Nancy.)

“We haven’t asked Barbra Streisand what she thinks about James Brolin playing Ronald Reagan,” Moonves told reporters, “but we’ll have to live with that.”