In 1993, Matthew Perry pitched NBC a sitcom he had co-written about a group of twentysomethings calledMaxwell’s House. The network turned him down because they already had a similar TV show, Friends, in the works.
Before settling on Friends, other titles producers considered were Friends Like Us, Six of One, Across the Hall, Once Upon a Time in the West Village, and Insomnia Cafe.
Originally the show was going to focus on just four characters: Monica, Ross, Rachel, and Joey. Phoebe and Chandler were going to be supporting characters.
Also, Monica and Joey were originally intended to be the main couple on the show.
Ellen DeGeneres turned down the role of Phoebe.
In the early stages of development, the writers considered making Chandler gay.
The frame around the peephole originally had a mirror in it. It was accidentally broken by a crew member, but because it still looked good, they decided to leave it there.
The iconic orange couch in Central Perk was found by a set designer in the basement of the Warner Bros. Studios.
In the first couple of episodes, Monica and Rachel’s apartment number was No. 5. This was changed in later episodes to No. 20 because the producers noted that 5 corresponded to an apartment on lower floor.
“I’ll Be There for You” was co-written by Friendsproducers David Crane and Marta Kauffman, along with Phil Solem and Danny Wilde, of The Rembrandts.
The ages of the cast when the show premiered:
The full names of the characters are:
• Chandler Muriel Bing
• Rachel Karen Green
• Ross Eustace Geller
• Monica E. Geller (we never learn what the E stands for)
• Joseph Francis Tribbiani Jr.
• Phoebe Buffay (she never knew her middle name since she had never seen her birth certificate)
Season 2 is the only season without a Thanksgiving episode.
Courteney Cox was the only cast member not to get an Emmy nomination for her work on the show.
Reportedly, Christina Applegate was cast as Amy Green for the Season 9 Thanksgiving episode after Reese Witherspoon was unavailable to reprise her role as Jill Green.
Bruce Willis guest starred on the show for free.
While filming the movie The Whole Nine Yards, Matthew Perry made a bet with his co-star Willis that if the film were to open at No. 1 at the box office on its opening weekend, then Willis would have appear on Friends for free. (Willis was already scheduled to appear on the show.)