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CNN Special Reports

Friends Forever 25 Years of Laugher. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 28, 2019 - 20:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: The following is a CNN Special Report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no half-hour comedy that's ever been more successful.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 12-year-olds who are discovering this show. It's crazy.

LISA KUDROW, ACTOR, "PHOEBE BUFFAY": Smelly cat, smelly cat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hours and the intensity were so brutal.


SCHWIMMER: Fine by me.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: It's the 25th anniversary. Now the truth can be told.

"Friends" was set in New York City but it was filmed in Los Angeles and that's why this is the first time in 25 years that the most memorable piece of furniture from the show is actually in front of a fountain in Central Park.

So, let's take a look back at the "Friends" magic and what's next for this TV juggernaut that really never went away.


We're here in Burbank, California, on the Warner Brothers lot, and since this studio was founded in 1923, tens of thousands of TV shows and films have been created here. So, throughout this hour, we're going to give you a behind the scenes tour of the "Friends" home. Let's start at the beginning.

The early titles of this show, what were you considering?

MARTA KAUFFMAN, CO-CREATOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: "Insomnia Cafe." We were driving down the street and I saw this place, and thought that was an amazing name and a really interesting setting. CAMEROTA: Why not go with that then?

KAUFFMAN: I don't think the network liked it. And then we talked about friends like us, the six of us across the hall.

SCHWIMMER: I just want to be married again.

KAUFFMAN: I mean, we just ended up simply with "Friends."

MATTHEW PERRY, ACTOR, "CHANDLER BING": And I just want a million dollars.

KAUFFMAN: Our partner Kevin Bright said if we get a good timeslot you can call it Kevorkian for all I care. You know.

WARREN LITTLEFIELD, FORMER PRESIDENT, NBC ENTERTAINMENT: "Mad About You" opened up Thursday night at 8:00. So we put right after "Mad About You," not a bad lead in of a young adult marriage. And then the lead out was "Seinfeld."

JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN: Hey, when I'm driving, I let people in ahead of me all the time. I'm always waving everybody in, go ahead, go ahead, go ahead.

SCHWIMMER: No, no, don't, stop cleansing my aura.

KEVIN BRIGHT, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Pilots are difficult because your job is to give a lot of exposition and background.

COURTENEY COX, ACTOR, "MONICA GELLER": Everybody, this is Rachel. Another Lincoln High survivor. This is everybody. This is Chandler and Phoebe and Joey and you remember my brother Ross?



BRIGHT: And you're also doing kind of a sell job on an audience about why they are supposed to like these people and possibly tune in next week.

COX: You OK, sweetie?

SCHWIMMER: I just feel like someone reached down my throat, grabbed my small intestine, pulled it out of my mouth and tied it around my neck. Cookie?

DAVID CRANE, CO-CREATOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: You come up with ideas, you come up with characters, you don't know what's going to hit. You just -- the dream was let's not get cancelled after six episodes. That was our goal.

ANISTON: You're the only person I knew who lived here in the city.

COX: Who wasn't invited to the wedding.

ANISTON: I was kind of hoping that wouldn't be an issue. KAUFFMAN: You know, what I remember is that when they tested it, it

didn't do that well which was very scary.

ANISTON: What if I don't want to be a shoe. What if I want to be a purse? You know, or a hat?

CAMEROTA: How does a network still have confidence in it after it tests poorly?

KAUFFMAN: They were smart.

SCHWIMMER: If you don't feel like being alone tonight, Joey and Chandler are coming over to help me put together my new furniture.

PERRY: Yes, and we're excited about it.

LITTLEFIELD: There was wonderful drama.

SCHWIMMER: And I hope she'll be very happy.

COX: No, you don't.

SCHWIMMER: No, I don't. To hell with her, she left me.

LITTLEFIELD: As well as comedy.

LEBLANC: You never knew she was a lesbian.

LITTLEFIELD: A connectedness. We had a sense of they really know what they are doing.

COX: There is nothing to tell. It's just some guy I work with.

LEBLANC: Come on. You're going out with a guy. There's got to be something wrong with him.

PERRY: So does he have a hump, a hump and a hairpiece?

CAMEROTA: It was less conventional than what was on TV at that time. What --


KAUFFMAN: Except for "Seinfeld."

CAMEROTA: Definitely, but NBC was a little uncomfortable.

KAUFFMAN: In the first episode, Monica sleeps with a guy on a first date.

COX: Paul, this is everybody. Everybody, this is Paul.

KAUFFMAN: Someone she's crazy about. He tells her a falsehood and it makes her took a fall for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ever since she left me, I haven't been able to perform sexually.

KAUFFMAN: And NBC was very concerned.

LEBLANC: What the hell do you do on a real date?

KAUFFMAN: And they handed out a survey to the audience. They were so skewed and it was some version of do you think Monica is, A, a slut, B, a whore, C, easy, D. all of the above for sleeping with a guy on a first date?

CAMEROTA: That's leading the witnesses.

KAUFFMAN: Yes. Yes, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had sex, didn't you?

KAUFFMAN: They didn't care. Nobody checked those boxes. Everybody was like we don't care.

COX: You mean you know Paul like I know Paul?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you kidding? I take credit for Paul. You know, before me there was no snap in his turtle for two years.

KAUFFMAN: I hate to admit this, but Monica's story in the pilot was an experience I had in college.

CAMEROTA: Hold on a second. So you went on a date with a guy that you really liked and he fed you a line, a BS line.


CAMEROTA: About how he was so heartbroken he hadn't been able to have sex for two years.

KAUFFMAN: That is correct.

CAMEROTA: And you fell for it.

KAUFFMAN: I fell for it hook line and sinker.

LEBLANC: Of course, it was a line.

KAUFFMAN: They were also nervous that there wasn't an older character.

LEBLANC: She got the furniture, the stereo, the good TV. What did you get?

SCHWIMMER: You guys --

PERRY: Oh, god.

LEBLANC: You got screwed.

PERRY: Oh, my god. CRANE: They were really afraid that older people weren't going to

watch the show.

PERRY: All right, kids, I got to get to work. If I don't input those numbers, doesn't make much of a difference.

CRANE: So we tried, actually. We did one script with a cop on the beat who comes in and chats with the friends. So horrible that we went no, and we threw it out. What we said to the network is we will introduce parents for all these characters.

CHRISTINA PICKLES, ACTRESS, "JUDY GELLER": I told her you had a restaurant --

COX: No, Mom, I don't have a restaurant. I work in a restaurant.

PICKLES: Well, they don't have to know that.

When I read the first episode, I thought wow, this is good. And I loved my character.

We're having spaghetti. That's easy.

Because it was extremely funny but it had a lot of heart.

Those earrings look really lovely on you.

COX: Thank you. They're yours.

PICKLES: Actually, they were Nana's.

PERRY: My mother, ladies and gentlemen.

CAMEROTA: Why did you want to take a risk with this show that wasn't yet established?

MORGAN FAIRCHILD, ACTRESS, "NORA BING": I thought the ensemble work, which is two different talents, was very good. I did have a good eye and so I said yes.

You just start with half a dozen European cities, thrown in 30 euphemisms from male genitalia, and bam, you have got yourself a book.

CAMEROTA: When the show ultimately debuted in September of 1994 --

SCHWIMMER: You got the job?

ANISTON: Are you kidding? I'm trained for nothing.

CAMEROTA: How was the structure of it different than that original pitch?

SAUL AUSTERLITZ, AUTHOR, "GENERATION FRIENDS": Well, the main difference was the decision to not have a main character.

COX: Like that, with feelings. AUSTERLITZ: Courtney Cox who also was the most notable name at the

time. She had been in a hit movie that year. "Ace Ventura Pet Detective."

COX: If you do anything to embarrass me in front of Cam.

JIM CAREY, COMEDIAN: What? Like this?

AUSTERLITZ: She was kind of the most bankable name and NBC really wanted Courtney Cox to be front and center.


BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: They all made a pact very soon to stay together, negotiate together, nominate themselves in the same categories, so there wouldn't be this demarcation of who was the biggest star and who wasn't.

SCHWIMMER: That little naked guy would be me.

ANISTON: Look at the little thing.


CAMEROTA: The theme song which has become so iconic, how did that happen?

KAUFFMAN: The music was composed by my ex-husband.

CAMEROTA: How did it come to pass that you guys sang the theme song for "Friends"?

DAVID WILDE, THE REMBRANDTS, "I'LL BE THERE" SINGER: We got the offer on Wednesday, went over the arrangement on a Thursday with the music director Michael Skloff, and cut the song on a Saturday and it aired the following Thursday.

CAMEROTA: This is the famous fountain that you see in the opening title sequence of every "Friends" episode. A few things you should know about this fountain.


First, it's not in New York City. It's on the Warner Brothers lot in Los Angeles. Second, they shot this at 4:00 in the morning. The actors were freezing cold and wet. So how were those actors cast and which ones almost didn't make the cut?

All that when we come back.


COX: OK, so I'm responsible. I'm organized. But hey, I can be a kook. So pretty good, you know. Nice. We're having fun.

LEBLANC: So when do we get to meet the guy? COX: Today's Monday. Never. Score. You suck.

CAMEROTA: The story is, that Courteney Cox was cast as the Rachel character?

KAUFFMAN: Well, we asked her to do the Rachel character. But she said no, she wanted to be Monica.

CRANE: Can do more of a Rachel because she's pretty and there's a warmth, and she said no, no, no, I totally see myself doing Monica. And we're like, all right, give it a shot and then she did, and we're like, yes, she's Monica. Great.


COX: I just connected with her in a certain way and I was going to play Rachel just very neurotic and not as like ethereal and corky.

ANISTON: Oh, my god. Look, look, look, my first paycheck. Look at the window. There is my name. Hi, me. Latte. And an iced tea. Getting pretty good at this.

SCHWIMMER: Excellent.

ANISTON: Good for me.

CRANE: Rachel is really difficult part because on the face of it, it could be a really unlikable character.

ANISTON: Well, maybe that's my decision. Well, maybe I don't need your money. Wait, wait, I said maybe.

CRANE: She's selfish, she's spoiled, she's just walked out on a guy during her wedding.

ANISTON: I was on another show at the time.

LITTLEFIELD: Jennifer Aniston was in first position to another series called "Muddling Through."

CRANE: If that show had succeeded, we had already shot like four, five episodes, we would have had to reshoot the first five episodes of "Friends" with another actress.

ANISTON: Are you going to eat that steak or argue with it?

LITTLEFIELD: We are going forward and we will do everything in our power to kill "Muddling Through."

ANISTON: Can you tell me something? How often do we have steak on the menu?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gee, hardly ever.

ANISTON: That's right. So what you have there is a rare steak. LITTLEFIELD: And we said, all right, Danielle Steel movies up against

"Muddling Through." We'll talk out the audience that would probably watch that sitcom on a Saturday night and it worked.

PERRY: Saturday night, the big night. Date night, Saturday night. Saturday night. And now you're choking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you all right?

PERRY: OK. I don't sound like that. That is so not true. That is so not. That is so not -- that -- oh, shut up.

CAMEROTA: Matthew Perry.


CAMEROTA: You really wanted him.

KAUFFMAN: He was the first person we offered Chandler to and he was doing another show called "LAX."


PERRY: It's about baggage handlers in the year 2194. I sorted out alien's luggage.

CAMEROTA: That is not a winning title.

KAUFFMAN: No, it's not. It's not. But that was in first position.

CARTER: That happens when you find a talent that you think is perfect for a role and you'll take the chance, the other show will fail and they will become available.

KAUFFMAN: We were a little nervous about it but we saw a million people. Even made an offer to someone else. And --



CAMEROTA: It's the 25th anniversary. Now the truth can be told.

KAUFFMAN: He's a lovely actor named Craig Bierko.


KAUFFMAN: And he didn't want to do an ensemble show.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to go with not Craig's best decision.


SCHWIMMER: Today is the day Carol and I first consummated our physical relationship. Sex. I don't know. You don't want to mess with corn nuts. They are crazy. CRANE: We had auditioned David for a previous pilot. As we started

writing this script, we thought you know who would be good for Ross? David Schwimmer. Remember David Schwimmer? He would be great for this.

SCHWIMMER: I guess they remembered me.

KAUFFMAN: There was something about his expression and his delivery and this guy who was sort of a victim of the world that we just loved. Just loved it.

KUDROW: Oh, oh, oh, my butt cheek is waking up. Oh. OK. Thank you very much. Hey, what's going on? Oh, oh, oh. So great.

CAMEROTA: Lisa Kudrow.

KAUFFMAN: She came into the audition and nailed it. She just nailed it.

KUDROW: Oh my god, don't do that.

SCHWIMMER: What, what, what?

KUDROW: That man across the street just kicked that pigeon.

LITTLEFIELD: Lisa had made appearances on "Mad About You."

CRANE: My partner Jeffrey Klarik was working on "Mad About You."

KUDROW: One iced tea and one nice cool bowl of water.

CRANE: When we were writing this script, he said, oh, you have to, Phoebe is Lisa Kudrow.


Once you see her, you're not going to see anyone else.

KUDROW: I was told this is the one you want to do.

LEBLANC: I couldn't do it.

KUDROW: Good for you, Joey.

LEBLANC: When I'm with a woman, I need to know that I'm going out with more people than she is. Can you stop yelling? You're making me nervous. How are you doing?

I auditioned about I guess five or six times.

CAMEROTA: Matt LeBlanc was the greenest in terms of acting.


CAMEROTA: So why did you risk hiring him? KAUFFMAN: I have to admit, there was a little bit of nervousness

about that, and the woman who was the head of casting at Warner Brothers at the time, she looked me in the eye and she said he can do it.

COX: Joey, stop hitting on her. It's her wedding day.

LEBLANC: What? Like there is a rule or something?

CRANE: When we originally wrote the part of Joey, he was supposed to be more of this kind of like sexy actor, intense guy, and it wasn't funny. And then he came in and when Matt read it, suddenly, it was really funny.

LEBLANC: Oh, Ross. You get me so hot. I want your lips on me now. Huh?

CAMEROTA: About 3,000 people per day. That's more than half a million per year take the Warner Brothers Studio tour and when they do, they come to this iconic couch in Central Perk. That's how big of a phenomenon "Friends" still is. So, what happens to the cast members when a show becomes that type of smash success? Well, it turns out some dealt with their fame better than others. That part of the story when we come back.



OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: How good of friends are you? I'll start with you, Lisa.

KUDROW: We're very good friends now.

DAVID WILD, FORMER EDITOR, ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE: Sometimes a show becomes a supernova and that's what was happening at the end of season one.

WINFREY: Do you guys watch the show together? Do you get together on Thursday nights?

ANISTON: We were better about that in the beginning.

WILD: I was with them in Chicago, and it was a little bit like Beatlemania.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I want to know how your new found fame has changed your personal lives. At all.

PERRY: Not at all.

CAMEROTA: How did they respond to being on Oprah.

WILD: They were nervous.

WINFREY: Are you anything like the character you play? LEBLANC: I think to a certain extent, yes.

WILD: Because, yes, the "Friends" were already getting big but Oprah is Oprah.

ANISTON: What else did he say? I mean, does he want to go out with me?

LEBLANC: Well, given that he's desperately in love with you, he probably wouldn't mind getting a cup of coffee or something.

CRANE: We worked so hard. We did crazy hours.

ANISTON: All this time?

CRANE: And so I think we were living in a bubble. We weren't really that aware of what was happening to the show, to the cast outside of our little bubble, and I remember after the first season ended, my partner Jeffrey and I were walking through the airport because we're finally getting a vacation and we looked at the news stand and there is -- they are on every cover. It was crazy.

BRIGHT: I remember getting in my car and driving away from Warner Brothers one day and I just turn on the radio.

And there was the theme song and to me, that was wow. This is big. This is huge. When we started the second season, we were the number one show on television.


LITTLEFIELD: We had hit the homerun, the grand slam homerun. We were on everyone's lips, and we were in their hearts.

ANISTON: Oh my god, Ross, no, hang up the phone. Give me the phone, Ross. Give me the phone. Give me the phone. Give me the --

CAMEROTA: And is that when NBC started to try to capitalize on them and their success?

KAUFFMAN: There was this opportunity to do a Diet Coke commercial and for some reason, we all said yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Buy specially marked packages of Diet Coke, watch the Diet Coke commercial during "Friends."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was this Diet Coke commercial that people did not seem to like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was going to drink the Diet Coke?

CAMEROTA: Why was there a backlash to them having a corporate sponsorship?

WILD: The truth is you had Warner Brothers and you had NBC wanting to capitalize on their show. PERRY: I feel violated and not in a good way.

LITTLEFIELD: For many years, we were the most watched television series in the history of television.

COX: Is that what you want to hear?

PERRY: I didn't do it. I wasn't even mad.

LEBLANC: Wasn't me.

KUDROW: What will be nice in here, a couple of candles.

WILD: It seemed like "Friends" was just everywhere.

KAUFFMAN: We were over saturated and we needed to get back to what we were best at, and which was telling little stories.

LITTLEFIELD: And we actually sat in the boardroom at NBC and said maybe we need to pull back and just let it breathe. I spent 20 years at NBC. I never had that discussion about a show ever. It was new territory for us.

PERRY: Do we dare?

LEBLANC: We dare.

LITTLEFIELD: So "Friends" was working in a big way. It was a hit.

KUDROW: Smelly cat, what are they feeding you? Everybody. Smelly cat, smelly cat. It's not your fault.

LITTLEFIELD: When there is success, contracts get torn up.

AUSTERLITZ: The two breakout stars were David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston. And so they ended up being approached by NBC to renew their contracts with the thought that they would be rewarded handsomely for becoming big stars.

And so they ended up being an approach for NBC and renew their contract with the thought that they would be rewarded handsomely for becoming big stars.

And traditionally in a negotiation once you get one then you get another and everyone kind of is forced to fall in line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And David Swimmer came to the conclusion that it was really going be in everyone's interest to have a lock step negotiation where everyone received the same amount of money. His feeling was we're all doing the same amount of work, why should we be paid differently for doing the same thing?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, listen, if you want this cart, you have to take me with it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I remember being in a strategic session where Jona Gulia (ph) who ran Business Affairs said whoa, bold move. The cast has united. We have to negotiate with them as one. From, I think, season two on, they were equals, and in the history of television, probably the highest compensation that any actors ever had.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, CNN THE NEW DAY: Did they really develop a true friendship or what was it like? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they were very close.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, they all got shot through a cannon together. They took care of each other and supported each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they loved each other and that came across, and even when one of them would have a struggle, you could sort of see the others stepping in to prop each other up.

CAMEROTA: Was there anyone for whom all of this, all the smash, all of the limelight took a bigger toll on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that it is very publicly known that the show did take toll on Matthew Perry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in denial about the serious nature of alcoholism and addiction. Once I had a drink, I could not stop. I couldn't stop.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you stay out here and you think about what you did.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a bad duck.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did show up to work in states of just insane hangover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the history of television, producers have acted towards a cast member who has an addiction problem usually by either letting them kill themselves or stepping up and realizing that this is a disease, and this is not something that he's doing maliciously to hurt the show, or irresponsibly as an actor.

So I feel very proud that all of us stood up with Matthew and held him up at times. I feel like we did the right thing in never letting him down.

CAMEROTA: The building you see behind me is the iconic County General Hospital and E.R. Set in Chicago. Then you take a few steps this way and here you find what "Friends" used as Central Park in New York. This is where they filmed some of the funniest outdoor scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The writers were always looking for ways to up the ante to get better jokes, bigger laughs, it got tough or as chandler might say, could they be any more stressed? When we return.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No sex, bad job, hit show, go figure. Go figure. Why do you think it's a hit?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It begins with the writing, right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shut up. The camera adds ten pounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how many cameras are actually on you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Writing was the best I've ever worked on in a sitcom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First they go off one side, they move it over and they go up the other side and move it back and then do the rear.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ross, will you tell them, isn't that how a tailor measures pants?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes it is in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We loved what was coming out of their typewriters and what was going onto the stage and we felt the chemistry of that cast.



UNIDENTIFIED FMEALE: Monica. I'm your best friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sweetie. Don't worry. You'll get picked. Chandler?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think anybody realizes how hard this show is to write. There is always six characters we have to service and then a lot of them dovetail into each other. That's extraordinary writing.

CAMEROTA: Was there a different structure of "Friends" than other sitcoms?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess the tradition in sitcoms had been that there was always an A and a B story. And the B story was kind of a frivolous story but we had six cast members. We had an A, a B and a C story every episode.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was all about you let the joke write can this be funnier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are some incredibly funny people all gathered in a room together all doing their utmost to win the game, right? To tell the funniest joke and come up with the funniest line and win over their fellow writers I think the challenging part is that the hours and the intensity were so brutal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very often we would stay all night trying to get it right because our feeling was you know what? This will shoot at the end of the week so we better get it right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it still funny?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would be there after midnight and it would be 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, sometimes that's when the kind of best punch lines would emerge.

CAMEROTA: So what was it like in the writer's room? Were those hours like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those were some rough hours. I mean, I had nights where I'd be driving home and the sun would be coming up and I'd get my kids ready for school and have to go back to work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say for three years, I didn't sit down to one meal with my children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get me to motor shop where in I take me through the week, David.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would have a table read with the whole writing staff, the production, heads of production, the executive producers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it gets a laugh, then it's worth keeping.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: you know what, if we were in prison, you guys if you like by bitches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was absolutely insane experience because Marta and David were never satisfied.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Tuesdays, we would go to the first rehearsal, and then we would have to go back and rewrite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So after Matthew says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were nervous about certain things. They were nervous about some of the sexual stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a huge battle with broadcast standards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we're suddenly being told you can't use the word nipple and you have to figure out a way to get the same idea across so we came up with Nipular.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I just say one thing?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a relatively open weave and I can still see your Nipular area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pushed the boundaries. Marta and David fought for everything that they did, and we stayed relevant. And we made some progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said your parents flipped a coin, decided to raise you as a girl but you still had a hint of a penis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a point you could say penis and then you couldn't say penis. Then you couldn't say penis, then you could say penis again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, look, penis, we're all people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would have these debates like all right, you can say penis once and you got it three times and we're like all right, I'll give you two penises if we can say this somewhere else in the script.


CAMEROTA: And you had really fun lines, right?


CAMEROTA: You got to say penis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could not believe they let that in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aren't you a little old to be wearing a dress like that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't you have a little too much penis to be wearing a dress like that?


CAMEROTA: 2001, to have a transgender character was pretty ground breaking, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know. I thought they were being very brave and then of course, when I turned out to be married to Morgan Fairchild, really had to get my head around that one. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look beautiful, mom. You look beautiful, too,



CAMEROTA: What was the writing process like? Did they keep updating the scripts?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kind of like any of the sitcoms, you come in and do a read through and see what works and then sometimes they would come up with other things in the middle of it and add something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't take this personally, okay? I can't have sex with a sick person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, if a lion isn't working and it's driving me crazy that I, you know, that I can't make this work, we'll all work together and try to figure out some other line or the best way to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matthew Perry, he brings his own spin to everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we write a line, we hear it in our head a certain way. He will deliberately pick another word in that sentence to emphasize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you seen Joey?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the matter?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A joke doesn't get a big laugh with the actual studio audience, we would sort of huddle and all the writers would put our heads together and come up with a better joke. It was worth it because that's what is going on television.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joey, I'm a little shy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's okay, Ross, you can ask me.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about one of the episodes, the one with all the poker. What was it about that particular episode?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who make friends realize that they need to figure out a way to conjoin the comedy and emotion. The way that this episode manages to both be really funny and to leave us with a lump in our throats ends up being the formula that "Friends" manages to utilize really well working forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a tough hand to beat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That don't we have to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you don't have the cards, you don't have the cards. Look how happy she is.


CAMEROTA: Here it is, stage 24 where most of the "Friends" episodes were filmed. Warner Brothers even put up a special plaque commemorating it. So, when we come back, we'll show you who is filming in there now. Here is a hint. It's another wildly popular show that reunited after 20 years. Will "Friends" do the same? That when we return.



CAMEROTA: Did your popularity spike even higher after 9/11?

MARTHA KAUFFMAN, CO-CREATOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Yes, it did. I think there was so much awful stuff on the news, in the world, I think it was like having your friends over and it had love, you know and hope.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you really going to do this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to have a baby. I'm going to have a baby. I'm going to have a baby!


CAMEROTA: How hard was it to wrap up all the story lines for the season finally?

KAUFFMAN: That was really hard. It was really hard because I mean, some things were somewhat predictable, so we had to do them in ways that were unpredictable.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let her off the plane!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am afraid you are going to have to take your seat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, please, miss, you don't understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try to understand!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, come on, miss, isn't there anyway to let me off the (BLEEP)--



KAUFFMANL: Like everybody basically knew that Ross and Rachel would have to end up together. We just had to figure out how that was surprising.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God, did she get off the plane? Did you get off the plane?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got off the plane.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got off the plane.



KEVIN BRIGHT, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: There was one thing that finally appeared in the last episode. It was the reveal of how they got the apartment. There was always a lot of talk, how did they afford it, it's television, leave me alone. But we thought sooner or later we may have to get to that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look around, you guys. This was your first home. And it was a happy place, filled with love and laughter. But more important, because of rent control, it was a freaking steal.


BRIGHT: I think Marta and David, from the very first time they pitched the show, they had a sense of where they were going.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is harder than I thought it would be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it's going to be okay.


BRIGHT: They knew what the audience wanted. And they delivered in a wonderfully satisfying way.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay, should we get some coffee?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God, ten seasons. Our goal was not to get cancelled.

CAMEROTA: What was the key to having a smash hit for ten years?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It starts with the cast and with the writing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, the food smells great.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told universal stories that everybody could relate to.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this has been great. See you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The show itself was about a time in your life where you leave the home for the first time, friends become your family.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If nobody tags Rachel, then is that the place still going?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's a time in everybody's life that we share in common.

AUSTERLITZ: Over 75 million Americans, which was a third of the country, would come to watch our network on Thursday. So "Friends" was a monster hit in ways that it's hard to imagine today. There's no half-hour comedy that has ever been more successful throughout the world for 25 years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were on a break!



CAMEROTA: And what about the impact that it's had on television?

DAVID CRANE, CO-CREATOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: A phenomenon like "Friends" can't be replicated. That sense of everyone is watching this particular thing all at the same time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you all please join me in raising a glass.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CRANE: It doesn't really exist anymore. In that sense I really see "Friends" as being the last of its kind. Netflix was willing to pay either $80 or $100 million, depending on who you ask, to keep it in streaming for one year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, okay, okay. Fine, you win.


CAMEROTA: The run on Netflix, are you surprised by that?

KAUFFMAN: Shocked. Shocked and so grateful. It's given the show such a resurgence not only here, but around the world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check this out, huh? That's the stuff.


KAUFFMAN: I always thought my only legacy would be my children. And there is something so humbling and yet thrilling about knowing that this has lived on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is you drinking helping the kids?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the more I drink, the less there is for the kids to drink.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 12-year-olds who are discovering this show and treating it like it's theirs and bingeing all 230 whatever episodes. That's insane. It's a show that started 25 years ago. And yet there's a sort of passion for it that still exists. It's crazy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to the real world. It sucks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to love it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A world today is the most connected world that we've ever been in. And yet I thank for all that connectivity, we don't have it. We have information, but people aren't connecting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think part of its enduring appeal is that it's not about a cell phone, it's about another human being. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the show is constantly reaffirming how real connectivity happens. What real relationships are like?



(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Here is the answer to what show is filming here now. It's "Fuller House," which is the sequel to the wildly popular sitcom "Full House" that aired from 1987 to 1995.


CAMEROTA: Sure this set looks different than it did on "Friends" but the yearning to revisit the old characters is the same. "Full House" reunited, should the cast of "Friends"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do a "Friends" reunion, okay. The girls would do it and the boys would do it. Of course, everybody who is feeling nostalgic wants a reunion. Part of the problem is, because the show at its core was about that time in your life where your friends are your family, once you start having family of your own, that changes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other one will be along in a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, who should be along in a what, now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next baby should be along in a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We only ordered one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's something pathetic about 50-year-olds hanging out in a coffee shop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We finished it right, put a bow on it, it's done.