As we mentioned in a post last night, May 6th marks the ten year anniversary of the day we said goodbye to Friends -when the series finale ended the show after ten years. How better to mark the occasion than to unearth some trivia about the sitcom? No matter how well you know Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel, and Ross, there’s always something new to learn about the production that introduced the Friends to us. For instance,
1. The show was originally called Insomnia Café ... and a bunch of other things.
In the early '90s, the creators of Friends, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, wrote a seven-page pitch for Insomnia Café. In addition to the different title, the plot itself was quite different from what we know as Friends. For example, Ross and Rachel weren't the key relationship. Instead, Joey and Monica were supposed to be love interests.
After NBC bought the pilot, the title became Friends Like Us. NBC president Warren Littlefield came up with another title that was also considered, Across the Hall. By the time they shot it, the title had switched again to Six of One. When the show premiered on September 22, 1994, they had finally landed on simply Friends.
2. The cast could have been much different.
With a cast of six people, it’s not a surprise that many different actors were considered for each role. For example, Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch actually became friends after meeting while both were auditioning for the part of Phoebe.
Both Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer were considered for the role of Chandler before it went to Matthew Perry. And Perry almost didn’t get the gig either. During the 1994 pilot season, he filmed the pilot for a show called LAX 2194 in addition to Friends. The show would have been about baggage handlers at LAX who sorted aliens’ luggage. Thankfully, it wasn’t picked up, and Perry was able to take the Friends gig.
Before the show premiered, Courteney Cox was probably the most famous cast member. She was known for many commercials plus Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” music video. The Friends producers originally asked her to play Rachel, but she requested the role of Monica because she liked the “strong” character.
If I recall correctly, Courteney Cox was also a semi-regular for a while on Family Ties before Friends. But that’s just the beginning of the list of 25 things you’ll learn about Friends at mental_floss.