Why Friends Will Never, Ever Be Rebooted — and Other Highlights from a New Book About the Show
A new book about the beloved show takes fans back to the best — and worst — moments
These are some of the fun facts recounted in a new book about the beloved TV show Friends. But the book, I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friendsby former PEOPLE writer Kelsey Miller, out now, also reminds fans of a painful truth — a reboot isn’t going to happen.
“For more than a decade, the answer has been a consistent and firm no,” writes Miller.
“Someone asks me every day,” writer Marta Kauffman said in a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, which is also cited in the book. “I don’t get upset. I understand that people want to relive that. But you can’t relive that. We can’t go back to that time in our lives.”
She added, “Let’s be honest, reunions generally suck.”
“Look, the thing is, I just don’t know if I want to see all of us with crutches [and] walkers,” he said during an interview earlier this year.
Those affiliated with the show have shut down the idea of a reboot, but that hasn’t stopped fans from hoping against hope. A new reader poll in the current issue of PEOPLE selected Friends as the reboot that they’d most want to see.
Miller’s book explains why there is such a fascination with the show, which ran for 10 seasons from 1994-2004.
“Friends has managed to transcend age, nationality, cultural barriers, and even its own dated, unrelatable flaws,” Miller writes. “Because underneath all that, it is a show about something truly universal: friendship. It’s a show about the transitional period of early adulthood, when you and your peers are untethered from family, unattached to partners, and equal parts excited and uncertain about the future. The only sure thing you have is each other.”
Keep reading for more highlights from the book.
The cast celebrated their last night of “anonymity” by hitting the casino
Director James Burrows took the new cast out to dinner in Las Vegas before the pilot aired so they could enjoy their last night of normalcy. “This is your last shot at anonymity,” he told them, according to the book. Whether or not they believed him, they did want to celebrate and “do whatever it was that hot young television actors were supposed to do when they flew into Vegas on a private jets,” Miller writes. They wrote Burrows checks so they could have some money when they went gambling. “They didn’t have a pot to piss in,” Burrows said, according to the book.
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Schwimmer didn’t want to play Ross
According to the book, Schwimmer originally didn’t want to play Ross, even though the role had been created with him in mind. Fortunately for fans, Schwimmer quickly changed his mind. Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing, also almost didn’t make the casting list because he was originally signed on to another pilot series. Despite the risk, the show took him on. “I instantly knew my whole life was going to change — which has never happened before or since then,” Perry said during an interview with Kevin Pollak, per the book. “I knew I was going to get [the role]. I knew it was going to be huge. I just knew.”
Aniston was almost dropped from the show
While the writers auditioned “thousands and thousands of women” to find the right actress to play Rachel Green, Aniston booked a lead role in a CBS series called Muddling Through. Then Aniston auditioned for Rachel. “She was, head and shoulders, the best one,” producer David Crane said, according to I’ll Be There For You. They decided to cast Aniston for the role, hoping that the other show would fall through. To mess with NBC, CBS decided to pick up the show for three episodes, Miller writes. The intent was to “throw a wrench into [Friends] by keeping Aniston occupied just long enough that she’d have to be recast.” The writers were forced to shop around for a new actress. “I remember a girlfriend calling me saying she was auditioning for Rachel, and do I have any advice?” Aniston said during an interview with Jenelle Riley, per the book. “So heartbreaking.” Fortunately, Muddling Through was eventually canceled. The rest is TV history.
The stars presented a unified front during negotiations
In 1996, Schwimmer proposed that he and his castmates ask for a raise together (they wanted $100,000 an episode each). After hard negotiations, Miller writes that the cast voted to agree to “extend their contracts to a sixth season, in return for scaled-up salaries every year.” It was the first time a TV ensemble had negotiated as a group, the author explains. The cast would maintain a unified front for all 10 seasons with remarkable success (by the tenth season, NBC was paying $10 million in total to create each 30-minute episode).
Everyone cried at the end
The cast struggled to shoot the very last episode because everyone kept crying. “Everyone had been weepy and struggling all day — all season, really,” writes Miller. The shoot became even more tear-filled when LeBlanc said, “Do you realize this is the last coffee shop scene?” The response was instantaneous, Miller writes. “Everyone just lost it.”