Friends creators 'pushed back' after TV execs suggested a more diverse cast

When Marta Kauffman and David Crane pitched Friends, TV executives allegedly tried to push for a more diverse cast – only for the creators to ‘push back’.

At least that’s according to Karey Burke (EVP of Freeform Programming & Development), who opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about diversity and representation in TV.

Burke, who was in the room when the iconic sitcom was first pitched, claimed that Kauffman and Crane wrote the Friends script with specific people already in mind – that is, six straight white people.

“I think now it might be a different conversation. I also think that was Gen X, and I think millennials and subsequently Gen Z are far more diverse generations,” Burke explained.

“And I think to honestly serve those generations… it might feel a little tone deaf to not be more inclusive.”

Digital Spy has reached out to Friends‘ network NBC for comment.

It was recently revealed that Friends could have lost Jennifer Aniston as Rachel after five episodes, as Aniston had first position on another sitcom at the same time called Muddling Through – meaning she could only jump to Friends if the latter was cancelled.

“The fear was that we would shoot four or five of them, and CBS, just to screw with NBC, would pick up Muddling Through, and then we would have to recast and reshoot the first five episodes,” Crane recalled.

“We were holding our breath the whole time, looking at the ratings. You never wish ill on another show.”

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