Friends

1994, TV Show

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I am writing to you, but ...

Question: I am writing to you, but mostly to the African-American reader who wrote to you about Tyler Perry's House of Payne. I, for one, think it's a funny show. While I will agree that the first few episodes were rough, I find myself looking forward to it, and I TiVo it religiously. That reader kind of ticked me off, because maybe he doesn't personally go through the issues from the show, but they are definitely issues in a lot of families. I give thumbs up to Tyler Perry for doing the show he wanted to do, rather than what the networks wanted. I am proud to see a 90-percent black cast and wish there were more like this for my children to see. I think it's important to remember that this show is a comedy and thus makes light of issues. The episode this week about the son on the Internet and a predator coming to the house opened up a dialogue in my family about the issue. If you don't like the show, don't watch it! But let it be for those of us (and trust me, there are a lot) who do ... read more

What is your take on why ...

Question: What is your take on why sitcoms have disappeared from the television landscape? I get that they don't win awards and don't get a lot of watercooler talk for the most part, but a show like The King of Queens was at times last year the top-rated comedy on any network, and House of Payne opened to huge numbers on TBS. As much as I love The Office, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother and others, why have the networks abandoned a genre that doesn't appear lost in terms of viewer numbers? Answer: That's a much bigger question than I can easily address in this column, but it boils down to the cyclical and cynical nature of the industry. It hasn't been that long since Friends was a phenom, not to mention Raymond keeping CBS afloat in its quieter way. But it has been a while since a new sitcom was both a critical and popular smash, feeding a perception that the old-fashioned sitcom (live audience, laugh track) was no longer in vogue and the quirkier, single-camera comedy was the way to go, ... read more

The NBC Shuffle

Ben Silverman, Kevin Reilly courtesy NBC

No such thing as a lull in the TV business, both on and off screen, not even in the once-sleepy period between the end of the traditional season and the start of June. Forget about all the off-season shows premiering this week (you probably will eventually, anyway), a rather staggering glut, but fans won’t want to forget that House and Boston Legal have their season finales tonight (delayed a week to make room for reality TV). Beyond what’s on TV, it’s been a crazy couple of days for the business itself.On Friday, it was made official that Rosie O’Donnell was off The View for good, a few weeks ahead of schedule. Not such a big surprise after her confrontational meltdown with Elisabeth Hasselbeck a few days earlier, the latest chapter in The Boor vs. The Blonde. Looks to me like Rosie was just looking for any excuse to make an early exit. The fact that she did not bow out with grace is hardly a shock. But what will it take to get her nitwit nemesis off the show? R... read more

Fall 2007: Bernie Mac Finds a New Family

Bernie Mac is working with producer Ben Silverman (Ugly Betty, The Office) on Welcome to the Family, an NBC reality pilot in which engaged couples from different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds meet each others' families for the first time. Mac will narrate the undoubtedly madcap fallout and serve as executive producer.... Also per the Hollywood Reporter, Friends cocreator Marta Kauffman is exec-producting Gifted, a Fox reality pilot that tests the skills of those who claim to have psychic abilities. [Closing eyes] I see... 4.2 million viewers. read more

Fall 2007: O.C. Vet Teams Up with The Man

Who's doing what during this pilot season? Here's the latest from Variety and the Hollywood Reporter:• With The O.C.'s swan song but a day away, Melinda Clarke has scored a gig on CBS' The Man, playing a tough and sexy policewoman who has worked with LL Cool J's undercover cop over the years.• Beau Bridges is a father whose two separate sets of grown children don't know the others exist in Fox's Two Families.• Last seen on Pepper Dennis, Lindsay Price is joining Kim Raver and Brooke Shields in NBC'sLipstick Jungle, playing a fashion mogul.• Linus Roache (Kidnapped) is Julianna Margulies' husband in Fox's Canterbury's Law.• Keith Robinson (Over There, Dreamgirls) has joined the Fox crime drama The Apostles.• CBS has picked up three comedy pilots: the Paul Reiser-produced Atlanta, about a man and woman who meet at a funeral; an office comedy from Will & Grace's Max Mutchnick and David Kohan; and The Rich Inner Life of Penelope Cloud, concerning a lite... read more

Exclusive: Aniston-Cox Smooch Exposed!

Call them Friends with benefits. You already know that when Jennifer Aniston guests on the March 27 season finale of Courteney Cox's FX drama Dirt, she'll be playing her bosom buddy's archenemy, a rival tabloid editor. But what I've learned — muahaha, exclusively! — is that Aniston's character is a lesbian. What's more, she won't just mouth off to Cox's tightly wound counterpart, she's going to share a liplock with her. An FX rep declined to comment, but Joey Tribbiani had this to say: "Yeah, baby!" read more

Courteney Nixes One Friends Reunion, Eyes Another

Speaking to the press at the Television Critics Association conference, Courteney Cox waxed skeptical on the latest outlook for a Friends reunion special, saying, "It's too hard to get everyone together.... I just can't see it happening." Cox, however, is bullish on sharing the small screen again with at least Jennifer Aniston, who has expressed her love for Cox's new FX series, Dirt, and is anxious to guest on it. "I would love to," Aniston told Extra earlier this week. "Just to be able to work with my girl again!" Perhaps the only holdup is deciding who Jen would play, if not her tabloids-weary self. But, Cox promises, "We'll think of something good if it happens." read more

Courteney Cox Dishes the Dirt about the Tabloid Press

Courteney Cox, Dirt

Everybody's favorite Friend, Courteney Cox, is switching gears to play a hard-charging tabloid editrix in FX's Dirt (Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET). Here, she shares with TV Guide how she does it. Plus: The latest likelihood of a reunion for Monica, Chandler, Rachel, et al.

TV Guide: You're panting! What's going on?
Courteney Cox:
I'm on an elliptical trainer. I have to knock it out when I can — I have no time!

TV Guide: Mostly because of your new show?
Cox:
It's extremely challenging to star and produce — it takes a toll. I'm having a ball, but I'm glad it's only 13 episodes. I now understand how hard it is on Patricia [Arquette, her sister-in-law, who stars on Medium]. read more

Over and over we hear that ...

Question: Over and over we hear that the sitcom is dead and gone, but I tend to disagree. Even when Seinfeld and Friends were in their prime, the landscape wasn't as full of comedy hoots as it is today. For every Seinfeld we had three Veronica Closets, and for every Friends we had four Thunder Alleys. Today, we have How I Met Your Mother (why it isn't a Friends-style smash I don't know), The New Adventures of Old Christine (the most consistent and witty of the traditional sitcoms running today), Two and a Half Men (I personally despise), 30 Rock (god bless Alec Baldwin), Scrubs, My Name Is Earl, The (vastly improving) Class and the best sitcom since Seinfeld: The Office. Could it be that the problem does not lie in the networks but rather with the American public's expectation that they should have glaring laugh tracks (with the exceptions of Two and a Half Men and The Class) hammer home the times they should laugh. I am an unproduced writer and have a pilot being pitched — "Hi, ... read more

NBC's New "Must-Tee-Hee" Thursday Strategy

Finally, NBC is giving us what we've been asking for: a two-hour block of cutting-edge network comedy on Thursday. Just like in the old days, except in this new lineup, which kicks in November 30, there are no howling dogs like The Single Guy, Union Square, Veronica's Closet, etc.Here's the new lineup: My Name Is Earl, The Office, Scrubs and 30 Rock. Could it get any better than that?Well, I suppose it would be better if the competition were a little less brutal for Scrubs than Grey's Anatomy on ABC and CSI on CBS. This is, however, classic and aggressive counterprogramming. There's little chance Scrubs will do better than a distant third—for one thing, Grey's many weeks is as sexy and funny a hospital farce as the wacky, giddy Scrubs. But this lineup sends a strong signal that NBC is serious about Thursdays, a night the network used to own on the strength of its signature comedies. Or should I say NBC is being seriously funny, to borrow CBS's catch-phrase for its own comedy bl... read more

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Premiered: September 22, 1994, on NBC
Rating: None
User Rating: (380 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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