Behind the Scenes Details of How Friends Beat the Odds and Conquered Television: “For Us, It Was Just Another Pilot”
Everyone loves a good underdog story. In retrospect, it’s crazy to think that Friends — one of the most successful sitcoms in history — ever struggled to gain an audience.
But a revealing new piece in Vanity Fair details the origins of TV’s beloved show. Excerpted and adapted from former NBC president Warren Littlefield’s book on the legacy of the network’s “Must See TV” lineup, the article divulges some little-known details about the show’s beginnings — courtesy of the creators and actors.
For instance, can you imagine someone other than Jennifer Aniston taking on the role of Rachel Green? According to Warren, it almost didn’t happen because Jen had already filmed episodes for another pilot on CBS. “No one else was good enough,” he said. Casting her, said Warren, was “a pretty big risk” if CBS decided to air their show before Friends got off the ground.
Other choice tidbits include writer Marta Kauffman fuming over an NBC exec’s displeasure with the depiction of casual sex on the show, and director Jimmy Burrows flying the entire cast to Las Vegas on a private jet to blow off some steam before the pilot aired.
Read the full article — which includes interviews with David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc — here.