"I wish I knew then what I know today," Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman said

By Eric Todisco
June 08, 2020 11:16 AM
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Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman is acknowledging the beloved NBC sitcom's lack of diversity.

Kauffman, who created the series with David Crane, got emotional at the virtual 2020 ATX TV festival when she was asked what she wishes she'd known at the start of her career.

"I wish I knew then what I know today," Kauffman, 63, tearfully said, according to Page Six. "Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.”

"I mean we’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough and now all I can think about is what can I do?" she continued. "What can I do differently? How can I run my show in a new way? And that’s something I not only wish I knew when I started showrunning, but I wish I knew all the way up through last year.”

Friends, which has become one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, featured predominantly white characters during its 10-season run.

In January, David Schwimmer, who starred as divorced paleontologist Ross Geller, told the The Guardian that he made a “conscious push” for more diversity on the show.

"I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color,” he said. “One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part." (Ross dated Julie, played by Lauren Tom, in season 2, and courted Charlie, played by Aisha Tyler, in seasons 9 and 10.)

Schwimmer said he would like to see a reimagined version of Friends with a more diverse cast. “Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” he added.

JON RAGEL/NBC

Friends aired from 1994 to 2004 on NBC and starred Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry as a group of friends in New York City.

An unscripted reunion show with all six main cast members was confirmed in February by HBO Max with an intended release date in May. However, the reunion show will now likely have a fall premiere date due to coronavirus delaying production, according to Variety.