Friends

1994, TV Show

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Forget the Cheerleader — Save NBC

NBC jumped the shark in 2004.The Apprentice was the hottest show on television. We're talking absolute must see TV that was oozing buzz. NBC tried to capitalize on the show's success and put all their eggs in the Donald's reality basket.I said it then, and I'm saying it now — moving The Apprentice to anchor Thursday nights sent the network right over the fin. ABC learned its lesson with Millionaire. CBS always had CSI and Everybody Loves Raymond to go with Survivor and The Amazing Race.Thursday nights belonged to NBC. It lost Friends and Frasier (which had jumped the shark years ago) and had nothing in the pipeline. First to fourth wasn't an "if", it was a "when".I understand how tempting it is to lead off each night with a game show or reality show (i.e. inexpensive show). It's also another big mistake. Deal or No Deal is getting pummeled into the ground as I type as the contestants get more and more "wacky".So you're Jeff Zucker... what do you do? Glad you asked.1. Pluck C... read more

NBC's Surrender, and Other TV Topics

So NBC is going to abandon the first hour of prime time, according to non-visionary chief Jeff Zucker. No more pricey comedies and dramas to fill the 8 pm/ET hour in the future. I guess the handful of shows, mostly comedies, now airing in that hour will migrate elsewhere at some point, whichever ones actually survive. Sounds like surrender to me. Not to mention fewer scheduling options for a lesser range of programming. Be on the lookout for more cheesy game shows and cheaper reality retreads. And what would happen should NBC be lucky enough to stumble across a perfect 8 pm/ET premise like ABC's family-friendly Ugly Betty? This is such a short-sighted blanket philosophy it's as staggering as it is depressing. Was it just two years ago that Friends signed off as one of the highest-rated shows ever, holding down that first half-hour of prime Thursday real estate? How times have changed, and how quickly. And how sad is it for TV's future to see a network simply giving up rather than tr... read more

Without a doubt, last year’s ...

Question: Without a doubt, last year’s My Name Is Earl was the breakthrough comedy of the season. But what about this year? I heard positive things about The Class, but it does remind me too much of Friends, primarily because of the ridiculously waspy cast. Then I saw a preview for ABC’s Help Me Help You. At first, the name sounded terrible to me, and it didn't help that I don't care for Ted Danson (I hated Becker). But the supporting characters, like the promiscuous Asian woman and the guy who refuses to accept he’s gay, seem to make this show really funny. What do you think? Should I bother with this one, or are the previews misleading? Answer: Too soon to tell. The patients are the funniest thing about Help Me Help You, though Danson’s scenes with his character's ex-wife (Jane Kaczmarek, a recurring guest star) show promise. But is it a breakthrough/breakout hit, even on the modest scale of Earl (my fave new comedy of last season)? Not likely. The Class seems to me a terrific fit for ... read more

My coworkers seem to think ...

Question: My coworkers seem to think CBS' The Class is connected to Friends. One says it is a spin-off, and another said she saw the opening credits on the Internet and the cast is dancing in a fountain, just like the opening of Friends. What can I tell them? Answer: The only connection between The Class and Friends (beyond the fact that I like both of them) is that the new CBS comedy is cocreated by David Crane, who performed a similar function on Friends. These characters are not related to the Friends characters at all, except that a few of these former classmates show signs of being as endearingly quirky and lovable as Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, Rachel, Joey and Monica. Not even CBS would go so far as to call this the next Friends, which I'm not sure is even possible. But it's one of my favorite new comedies for the fall season (though a number of people in my office were left cold by it) ... read more

I'm a little worried about ...

Question: I'm a little worried about all of the new characters that will be introduced in the upcoming season of Lost. It seems to me that most successful shows tend to revolve around a consistent group of characters: M*A*S*H, Friends, etc. I know ER has some success with a rotating cast, but Lost seems to lend itself to singling out each character and telling that person's story. But it feels like they're slowly giving up on some of the original characters and introducing new ones for the sake of more flashbacks. What is your take? Answer: My take is that it's way too early to judge, and that I lean toward giving Lost a chance to prove itself before we jump to conclusions. What's safe to say is that Lost will get hammered no matter what it does. Too many stories about the original characters, and there will be griping that the show isn't moving forward fast enough. Too many new tangents with new characters and story lines, and there will be griping that the show has changed too much. ... read more

Could Matthew Perry Be Any Busier?

Matthew Perry, The Ron Clark Story

TNT's The Ron Clark Story (Sunday at 8 pm/ET), starring Matthew Perry, follows the real-life story of an energetic, creative and idealistic young teacher who leaves his small North Carolina hometown to teach in a New York City public school. (All kinds of crazy, right?) Bringing with him some inspirational classroom rules (e.g., "Be the best person you can be"), a few innovative teaching techniques and an undying devotion, Clark is able to make a remarkable difference in the lives of his students. And in doing so, Perry, many will find, is able to warm your heart and maybe even bring a tear to your eye in the final act. Surveying Clark's impact on his charges, Perry says, "These are all kids who could have easily given up and gone on the wrong side of the tracks and lived a much harder life, so the messa read more

Natalie and Ivan Dance Off into the Sunset

Natalie Fotopoulos and Ivan Koumaev, So You Think You Can Dance

The latest castoffs from Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (tonight at 9 pm, the winner is announced Aug. 16 at 8 pm/ET) acted positively cheery when they were sent home last week: Natalie Fotopoulos let out a big fat Greek "Oopah!" while Ivan Koumaev playfully pinched Benji Schwimmer on the butt. The day after their dismissal, TVGuide.com caught up with the "Nativan" (as the 22-year-old jazz dancer and 18-year-old hip-hopper have taken to calling themselves) to find out how making it to the final six has affected them personally and professionally, and where we might se read more

Everyone keeps saying Scrubs ...

Question: Everyone keeps saying Scrubs is a mistreated show. Doesn't NBC deserve a little credit for keeping it on the air for a sixth year? Scrubs couldn't hold much of the audience when it got a shot after Friends, but NBC has stuck with it anyway and has given the writers a good amount of freedom. I love the show and am thrilled to see it live on, but I'm a little sick of TV critics saying how mistreated it is when it's gotten well over 100 episodes, and when other networks would have given up on it by now. Poor little Scrubs. If that is being mistreated, what do you call the treatment given to shows canceled after one season, or worse, a handful of episodes? How about giving some credit where it is due? Answer: All valid points, but still, for NBC to bench Scrubs for half a season two years in a row seems like killing it with kindness. Especially at a time when the show has finally crossed the Emmy threshold with nominations for best comedy series, and this fall it would pair up so ... read more

Kudrow's Comeback: "We Don't Feel Done"

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback

For those of you who Valerie Cherish'd HBO's The Comeback, here something to make you say, "I wanna see that!" The single-season look at a onetime sitcom queen's bid for a return to fame arrives on DVD this week, complete with extras, including an update on the horrific role Val has since been offered and a look at her Dancing with the Stars stint. TVGuide.com spoke with cocreator Lisa Kudrow, Emmy-nominated for playing the hapless actress, about her ongoing Comeback, Valerie's A-list "Angel" of a fan, and Madonna stealing her hair. read more

Can you tell me why there are ...

Question: Can you tell me why there are so many talent-based shows this summer? Especially on Wednesdays. I looked in the listings sections, and there are at least four talent shows at 8 pm/ET on Wednesday. Don't people know that if they shove the same thing down our throats, we'll eventually get tired of it? I say we cut it back to only one show on Wednesdays at 8: So You Think You Can Dance. What's your take on this phenomenon? Answer: It is ridiculous, isn't it? But cloning comes naturally to the networks. Look at the glut of procedural dramas. Think back to all of the Friends knockoffs. If something works, all of the networks want to get in the game, innovation and creativity be damned. And nothing works on a grander scale than American Idol, so why be surprised when a tidal wave of amateur-hour talent contests invades the lineup, especially in the summer? It's almost comical when you see Dance go up against America's Got Talent, Rock Star: Supernova and now The One, all on the same ... read more

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Premiered: September 22, 1994, on NBC
Rating: None
User Rating: (368 ratings)
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Premise: A classic sitcom that reflected the lives of six twentysomething friends: three men and three women, living in New York. Sometimes touching and often hilarious, it addressed universal themes like falling in---or out of---love, finding a job and dealing with (as well as becoming) parents, and inspired numerous friends-themed knockoffs, none of which conveyed the warmth and humor of the original. A spin-off, `Joey,' featuring Matt LeBlanc's character, was slated to debut in the fall of 2004.

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