5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "Friends"

On May 6, 2004, an estimated 51 million people tuned in to watch the final original episode of "Friends." Here are six surprising things you probably didn’t know about NBC’s long-running comedy series...

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“Insomnia Café” Was The Original Name Of The Sitcom It would be tough to imagine Friends being named anything else. But before this simple name was chosen, other names were considered for the show. The show's creators originally created a pitch for a sitcom called Insomnia Café. Not only was the name of the show different, but so was the plot, with Joey and Monica being love interests instead of Ross and Rachel. When the pilot was bought by NBC, they changed the name to Friends Like Us and considered naming it Across the Hall. It changed again to Six of One, but finally ended up as Friends by the time it premiered in September 1994. 

Phoebe's Twin Sister Ursula Was Also A Character On Mad About You Phoebe's twin sister, Ursula, wasn't just featured on Friends. She was also a character in another popular sitcom, Mad About You. In fact, Lisa Kudrow, who plays both Phoebe and Ursula, was already playing the character of Ursula on Mad About You before being cast on Friends. Friends producers decided to say the characters were twin sisters to address the potential confusion among viewers who may have been watching both shows with the same actor.

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The Show Could Have Had a Different Cast With a cast of six main characters, it's not surprising to know that many different actors were considered to play the different roles in Friends. For example, Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch actually became friends after meeting while both were auditioning for the part of Phoebe.  Jon Cryer and Jon Favreau were considered role of Chandler before it went to Mathew Perry.  Meanwhile, Perry almost didn't get the gig either. During the 1994 pilot season of Friends, Perry was also filming a pilot for the show LAX 2194. The show was about baggage handlers at LAX who sorted aliens’ luggage. Thankfully, that show was never picked up, leaving Perry committed to the role of Chandler Bing.

The Cast Members Negotiated Their Salaries as a Group Each actor was initially paid $22,000 per episode during the first season, but salaries started to differ by the second season. As a result, all of members of the cast joined together and insisted on an equal salary of $100,000 in 1997; otherwise, they refused to work. Their group effort paid off, as they eventually each went on to earn a whopping $1 million per episode by the final season.

Bruce Willis Appeared On The Show After Losing A Bet To Mathew Perry In 2000, Bruce Willis appeared with Matthew Perry in the movie The Whole Nine Yards.  During the filming, Perry bet Willis that the movie would be number one in the box office on its opening weekend. Willis bet against this achievement and inevitably lost when the film reached the top spot in February 2000. As a result of the bet, Willis had to appear on Friends and donate his pay to charity.