Ray Romano Returns to Season 5 of Parenthood and Befriends Max

Ray Romano Parenthood

Will there be a Ray Romano Parenthood return on NBC this fall? It’s already been confirmed that the show will be back for season five, but there’s no official word about the Everybody Loves Raymond star, who played Sarah Braverman’s love interest, Hank, during the fourth season of the show.

But according to Deadline Hollywood’s TV editor, Nellie Andreeva, he’s a lock for the new season. “Ray Romano has closed a deal to return to the quirky NBC dramedy next season, reprising his character as Sarah’s (Lauren Graham) boss/paramour Hank Rizzoli,” she reports. Romano appeared on 14 episodes this past season and will supposedly do between 12 and 15 during season five.

At the ATX Television Festival in Austin in early June, Parenthood producer David Hudgins said there were ongoing discussions with Romano about a return, adding weight to Andreeva’s scoop. “I love Ray Romano and thought he was so good on the show last year,” Hudgins said. “He’s great in that part and he works hard. He doesn’t just show up and do his [scenes]; he actually researched the character.”

So the show’s producers clearly love him, but what do the fans think? Early in 2013, Ology conducted a poll showing viewers narrowly favored Mark (Jason Ritter) over Hank. The almost even split is a clear indication that fans like both characters, though one fan on the site summed up frustration at Sarah’s constant bad choices: “Sarah Braverman makes the WORST DECISIONS EVER.”

In the season four finale, Hank was moving out of state to be closer to his daughter. Before leaving, however, he did tell Sarah he loved her, something she’d been waiting to hear for several episodes. It was enough for her to spurn Mark and give Hank everything, which ultimately leaves her with no one. It’s uncertain how Hank will play into season five, but it’s likely he’ll end up back in California. It could start as a long distance romance or Sarah might even decide that since her son, Drew (Miles Heizer), is headed off to college, that she has the freedom to go back and forth between Braverman central and Hank’s new place. As for Mark, actor Jason Ritter is working on a new TV pilot with Parenthood creator Jason Katims, but the actor made it clear that he’d still be available for a few episodes. If that new show isn’t picked up, Mark could have a much bigger role.

What’s your take on Hank and Sarah’s relationship on Parenthood? Do you think a Ray Romano Parenthood return is good for the show? Are there 15 episodes worth of drama in their romance? Are you a Mark or a Hank fan? Let us know in the comments!

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