Known facts about the show


Broadcast

 

After the produced pilot lived up to NBC’s hopes, the series premiered with the name F.R.I.E.N.D.S on September 22, 1994 on the coveted Thursday 8:30 pm timeslot. The pilot aired between Mad About You and Seinfeld, and was watched by almost 22 million American viewers. The series was a huge success throughout its run, and was a staple of NBC’s Thursday night line-up, dubbed by the network as Must See TV. When Crane told reporters in 2001 that the ninth season was a possibility, critics believed that he was posturing, and that at least two of the cast members would not sign on for another season. When it was confirmed that F.R.I.E.N.D.S would return for a ninth season, the news was mainly about the amount of money—$7 million per episode—that it took to bring the series back for another season.

 

After year-long expectations that the ninth season would be the series’ last, NBC signed a deal in late December 2002 to bring the series back for a final tenth season. The series’ creative team did not want to extend negotiations into the next year, and wanted to start writing the rest of the ninth season episodes and a potential series finale.[98] NBC agreed to pay $10 million to Warner Bros. for the production of each tenth season episode, the highest price in television history for a 30-minute series. Although NBC was unable to bring in enough advertising revenue from commercials to cover the costs, the series was integral to the Thursday night schedule, which brought high ratings and profits to the other television series. The cast demanded that the tenth season be reduced from the usual 24 episodes to 18 episodes to allow them to work on outside projects.

 

In the fall of 2001, Warner Bros. Domestic Cable made a deal with sister network TBS to air the series in rerun syndication. Warner Bros. made similar deals with various TV stations around the country. In July 2005, it was announced that Warner Bros. Domestic Cable has sold F.R.I.E.N.D.S to Nick at Nite to begin airing in the fall of 2011. Warner Bros. is expected to make $200 million in license fees and advertising from the deal. Nick at Nite paid $500,000 per episode to air the episodes after 6 p.m. for six years, through the fall of 2017. TBS also renewed its contract for the same six year period as Nick at Nite, but only paid $275,000 per episode because airing was restricted to before 6 p.m., except for the first year. In syndication until 2005, F.R.I.E.N.D.S had earned $4 million per episode in cash license fees, for a total of $944 million.

 

International

 

F.R.I.E.N.D.S began airing in the UK in 1994 on the terrestrial Channel 4; however, in 1996, Sky1 bought the rights to the series. Although Channel 4 continued to air episodes several weeks after their original airing on Sky1, the series was one of the network’s most popular series, averaging 2.6 million viewers per episode. In 1999, Channel 4 signed a £100 million deal to regain the rights to F.R.I.E.N.D.S and ER from Sky1. The three year deal allowed Channel 4 to air new episodes of the series in the UK first, and to negotiate pay-TV airings with other UK broadcasters. The final episode averaged 8.6 million viewers in overnight figures—more than a third of the UK’s television audience at the time—and saw a peak of 8.9 million viewers. This was the highest amount of viewers for any episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, beating the June 2002 episode, which drew 6.5 million viewers. Repeats of the series are shown in the UK on Channel 4 and E4. The Irish channel RTÉ Two was the first channel in Europe to air the finale on May 24, 2004. F.R.I.E.N.D.S debuted on Australian television in 1996 on the Seven Network. The Nine Network began airing the second season in 1997, and continued to show the series until its finale in 2004. The Ten Network announced in November 2007 that it had bought the rights to the show in Australia. TV2 began broadcast in New Zealand in 1995 and aired all ten seasons, and continues to air repeats.

 

Merchandise

 

All ten seasons have been released on DVD individually and as a box set. Warner Home Video reportedly intends to start releasing the series on Blu-ray in 2010. No other release details are available, and this information must be considered unofficial until there is an announcement from the studio. It must be noted that both series were shot on film, not video. Each region 1 season release contains special features and footage originally cut from the series, although Region 2 releases are as originally aired. For the first season, each episode is updated with color correction and sound enhancement. A wide range of F.R.I.E.N.D.S merchandise has been produced by various companies. In late September 1995, WEA Records released the first album of music from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, the F.R.I.E.N.D.S Original TV Soundtrack, containing music featured in previous and future episodes. The soundtrack debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 46, and sold 500,000 copies in November 1995.[109] In 1999, a second soundtrack album entitled Friends Again was released. Other merchandise include a F.R.I.E.N.D.S version of the DVD game “Scene It?”, and a quiz video game for PlayStation 2 and PC entitled Friends: The One with All the Trivia.

Source: wikipedia.org

Critical reception

 

David Schwimmer received considerable praise for his role as Ross. Early reviews of the series were mixed. Tom Feran of The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that the series traded “vaguely and less successfully on the hanging-out style of Seinfeld”, while Ann Hodges of the Houston Chronicle called it “the new Seinfeld wannabe, but it will never be as funny as Seinfeld.” In the Los Angeles Daily News, Ray Richmond named the series as “one of the brighter comedies of the new season”, and The Los Angeles Times called it “flat-out the best comedy series of the new season”.

 

Chicago Sun-Times’ Ginny Holbert found Joey and Rachel’s characteristics to be underdeveloped, while Richmond commended the cast as a “likeable, youth ensemble” with “good chemistry” Robert Bianco of USA Today was complimentary of Schwimmer, calling him “terrific”. He also praised the female leads, but was concerned that Perry’s role as Chandler was “undefined” and that LeBlanc was “relying too much on the same brain-dead stud routine that was already tired the last two times he tried it”. The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends thought that the cast was “trying just a little too hard”, in particular Perry and Schwimmer.

 

As the series progressed, reviews became more positive, and F.R.I.E.N.D.S became one of the most popular sitcoms of its time. Critics commended the series for its consistently sharp writing and the chemistry between the main actors. Noel Holston of Newsday, who had dismissed the pilot as a “so-so Seinfeld wannabe” in 1994, reneged his review after rewatching the episode, and felt like writing an apology to the writers. Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com thought that the series “hit its stride” in the second season. Havrilesky found the character-specific jokes and situations “could reliably make you laugh out loud a few times each episode”, and the quality of writing allowed the stories to be “original and innovative”. Bill Carter of The New York Times called the eighth season a “truly stunning comeback”. Carter found that by “generating new hot story lines and high-decibel laughs”, the series made its way “back into the hearts of its fans”. However, Liane Bonin of Entertainment Weekly felt that the direction of the ninth season was a “disappointing buzzkill”, criticizing it for the non-stop celebrity guest spots and going into jump the shark territory. Although disappointed with the season, Bonin noted that “the writing [was] still sharp”. Havrilesky thought that the tenth season was “alarmingly awful, far worse than you would ever imagine a show that was once so good could be.” F.R.I.E.N.D.S was featured on Time’s list of “The 100 Best TV Shows of All-Time”, saying, “the well-hidden secret of this show was that it called itself F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and was really about family.

 

“It may have been impossible for any one episode to live up to the hype and expectations built up around the F.R.I.E.N.D.S finale, but this hour probably came as close as fans could have reasonably hoped. Ultimately, the two-hour package did exactly what it was supposed to do. It wrapped up the story while reminding us why we liked the show and will miss it.”

Reviews of the series finale were mixed to positive. USA Today’s Robert Bianco described the finale as entertaining and satisfying, and praised it for deftly mixing emotion and humor while showcasing each of the stars. Sarah Rodman of the Boston Herald praised Aniston and Schwimmer for their acting, but felt that their characters’ reunion was “a bit too neat, even if it was what most of the show’s legions of fans wanted.” Roger Catlin of The Hartford Courant felt that newcomers to the series would be “surprised at how laughless the affair could be, and how nearly every strained gag depends on the sheer stupidity of its characters.” Ken Parish Perkins, writing for Fort Worth Star-Telegram, pointed out that the finale was “more touching than comical, more satisfying in terms of closure than knee-slappingly funny.”

 

Awards

 

To maintain the series’ ensemble format, the main cast members decided to enter themselves in the same acting categories for awards. Beginning with the series’ eighth season, the actors decided to submit themselves in the lead actor balloting, rather than in the supporting actor fields. The series was nominated for 63 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning six. Aniston and Kudrow are the only main cast members to win an Emmy, while Cox is the only actor not to be nominated. The series won the 2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, with nominations in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2003. The series also won an American Comedy Award, one GLAAD Media Award, one Golden Globe Award, three Logie Awards, six People’s Choice Awards, one Satellite Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

 

Ratings

 

The table below indicates the ratings of F.R.I.E.N.D.S in the US, where it consistently ranked within the top ten of the final television ratings. “Rank” refers to how well F.R.I.E.N.D.S rated compared to other television series which aired during primetime hours of the corresponding television season. The television season tends to begin in September, and ends during the May of the following year, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. “Viewers” refers to the average number of viewers for all original episodes, broadcast during the television season in the series’ regular timeslot. “Rank” is shown in relation to the total number of series airing on the then-six major English-language networks in a given season. The “season premiere” is the date that the first episode of the season aired, and the “season finale” is the date that the final episode of the season aired.

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 Thursday 8:30 P.M. (September 22, 1994 – February 23, 1995)
Thursday 9:30 P.M.(February 23, 1995 – May 18, 1995)

September 22, 1994

May 18, 1995

1994-1995

#8

17.9

2 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 1995 – January 18, 1996)
Sunday 10:13 P.M. (January 28, 1996)
Thursday 8:00 P.M. (February 1, 1996 – May 16, 1996)

September 21, 1995

May 16, 1996

1995-1996

#3

18.7

3 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 19, 1996 – May 17, 2001) September 19, 1996 May 15, 1997 1996-1997 #4 15.7
4 September 25, 1997 May 7, 1998 1997-1998 #4 16.4
5 September 24, 1998 May 20, 1999 1998-1999 #2 23.5
6 September 23, 1999 May 18, 2000 1999-2000 #3 21.0
7 October 12, 2000 May 17, 2001 2000-2001 #4 19.7
8 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 27, 2001 – October 4, 2001)
Thursday 8:50 P.M. (October 11, 2001)
Thursday 8:00 P.M. (October 18, 2001 – May 16, 2002)
September 27, 2001 May 16, 2002 2001-2002 #1 24.5
9 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 26, 2002 – May 15, 2003) September 26, 2002 May 15, 2003 2002-2003 #4 21.8
10 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 25, 2003 – April 29, 2004)
Thursday 9:00 P.M. (May 6, 2004)
September 25, 2003 May 6, 2004 2003-2004 #5 21.4

 

Cultural impact

 

Set of Central Perk at Warner Bros. StudiosAlthough the producers thought of Friends as “only a TV show”, numerous psychologists investigated the cultural impact of Friends during the series’ run. Aniston’s hairstyle was nicknamed “The Rachel”, and copied around the world. Joey’s catchphrase, “How you doin’?”, became a popular part of Western English slang, often used as a pick-up line or when greeting friends. The series also impacted the English language, according to a study by a linguistics professor at the University of Toronto. The professor found that the characters used the word “so” to modify adjectives more often than other intensifiers, such as “very” and “really”. Although the preference had already made its way into the American vernacular, usage on the series may have accelerated the change. Following the September 11 attacks, ratings increased 17% over the previous season as viewers tuned in for comfort.

 

F.R.I.E.N.D.S is parodied in the twelfth season Murder, She Wrote episode “Murder Among Friends”. In the episode, amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) investigates the murder of a cast member in Buds, a fictional television series about the daily lives of a group of city friends. The episode was devised after CBS moved Murder, She Wrote from its regular Sunday night timeslot to a Thursday night timeslot directly opposite F.R.I.E.N.D.S on NBC; Angela Lansbury was quoted by Bruce Lansbury, her brother and Murder, She Wrote’s supervising producer, as having “a bit of an attitude” about the move to Thursday, but he saw the plot as “a friendly setup, no mean-spiritedness”. Jerry Ludwig, the writer of the episode, researched the “flavor” of Buds by watching episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

 

The Central Perk coffee house, one of the principal settings of the series, has inspired various imitations worldwide. In 2006, Iranian businessman Mojtaba Asadian started a Central Perk franchise, registering the name in 32 countries. The decor of the coffee houses is inspired by F.R.I.E.N.D.S, featuring replica couches, counters, neon signage and bricks. The coffee houses also contain paintings of the various characters from the series, and televisions playing F.R.I.E.N.D.S ‘ episodes. James Michael Tyler, who plays the Central Perk manager in the series, Gunther, attended the grand opening of the Dubai cafe, where he worked as a waiter. Central Perk was rebuilt as part of a museum exhibit at Warner Bros. Studios, and was shown on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October 2008. Jennifer Aniston revisited the set for the first time since the series finale in 2004. From September 24 to October 7, 2009, a Central Perk replica was based at Broadwick Street, Soho, London. The coffee house sold real coffee to customers and featured a display of F.R.I.E.N.D.S memorabillia and props, such as the Geller Cup from the season three episode “The One with the Football”. In 2009, a dance remix of the song “Smelly Cat” became a popular internet meme.

Source: wikipedia.org 

Conception

 

David Crane and Marta Kauffman began developing three new television pilots, which would premiere in the Fall 1994 season, following the cancellation of their sitcom, Family Album, by CBS in November 1993. Kauffman and Crane decided to pitch the series about “six people in their 20s making their way in Manhattan” to NBC, which they felt best suited the network’s style. Crane and Kauffman presented the idea to their production partner Kevin Bright, who had served as executive producer on their HBO series Dream On. The idea for the series was conceived when Crane and Kauffman began thinking about the time when they had finished college and started living by themselves in New York; Kauffman believed they were looking at a time when the future was “more of a question mark.” They found the concept to be interesting, as they believed “everybody knows that feeling,” and because it was also how they felt about their own lives at the time. The team titled the series Insomnia Cafe, and pitched the idea as a seven-page treatment to NBC in December 1993.

 

At the same time, Warren Littlefield, the then-president of NBC Entertainment, was seeking a comedy involving young people living together and sharing expenses. Littlefield wanted the group to share memorable periods of their lives with friends, who had become “new, surrogate family members”. However, Littlefield found difficulty in bringing the concept to life, and found the scripts developed by NBC to be terrible. When Kauffman, Crane and Bright pitched Insomnia Cafe, Littlefield was impressed that they knew who their characters were. NBC bought the idea as a put pilot, meaning they risked financial penalties if the pilot was not filmed. Kauffman and Crane began writing a pilot script for a show now titled F.R.I.E.N.D.S Like Us, which took three days to write. Littlefield wanted the series to represent Generation X and explore a new kind of tribal bonding, but the trio did not share his vision. Crane argued that it was not a series for one generation, and wanted to produce a series that everyone would enjoy watching. NBC liked the pilot script and ordered the series under another title, Six of One, mainly due to the similar title it shared with the ABC sitcom These Friends of Mine.

 

Casting

 

Once it became apparent that the series was a favored project at NBC, Littlefield reported that he was getting calls from every agent in town, wanting their client to be a part of the series. Auditions for the lead roles took place in New York and Los Angeles. The casting director shortlisted 1,000 actors who had applied for each role down to 75. Those who received a callback read again in front of Crane, Kauffman and Bright. At the end of March, the number of potential actors had been reduced to three or four for each part, and were asked to read for Les Moonves, then-president of Warner Bros Television.

 

Having worked with David Schwimmer in the past, the series creators wrote the character of Ross with him in mind, and he was the first actor cast. The producers wanted Courteney Cox to portray Rachel; however, Cox refused and asked to play Monica. Kauffman said that Cox had “this cheery, upbeat energy”, which was not how they envisioned Monica. When Cox auditioned for the role, the producers were surprised by her direction of the character and she was cast. When Matt LeBlanc auditioned for Joey, he put a “different spin” on the character. The writers did not originally intend for Joey to be dim, but found it to be a major source of comedy. LeBlanc also gave the character heart, which the writers did not realize Joey had. Although Crane and Kauffman did not want LeBlanc for the role at the time, they were forced by the network to cast him. Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, and Lisa Kudrow were cast based on their auditions.

 

More changes occurred to the series’ storylines during the casting process. The writers found that they had to adjust the characters they had written to suit the actors, and the discovery process of the characters occurred throughout the first season. Kauffman acknowledged that Joey’s character became “this whole new being”, and that “it wasn’t until we did the first Thanksgiving episode that we realized how much fun Monica’s neuroses are.”

 

Writing

 

In the weeks after NBC’s pick up of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Crane, Kauffman and Bright reviewed sent-in scripts that writers had originally prepared for other series, mainly unproduced Seinfeld episodes. Kauffman and Crane hired a team of seven young writers because “When you’re 40, you can’t do it anymore. The networks and studios are looking for young people coming in out of college.” The creators felt that utilizing six equal characters, rather than emphasizing one or two, would allow for “myriad story lines and give the show legs”. The majority of the storyline ideas came from the writers, although the actors added ideas. The writers originally planned a big love story between Joey and Monica, as they intended them to be the most sexual of the characters in the series pitch. The idea of a romantic interest between Ross and Rachel emerged during the period when Kauffman and Crane wrote the pilot script.

 

During the production of the pilot, NBC requested that the script be changed to feature one dominant storyline and several minor ones, but the writers refused, wanting to keep three story lines of equal weight. NBC thought the cast was too young, and pushed for an older character who could give the young adults advice. Crane and Kauffman were forced to comply, and wrote a draft of an early episode which featured “Pat the cop”. Crane found the storyline to be terrible, and Kauffman joked, “You know the kids book, Pat the Bunny? We had Pat the Cop.” NBC eventually relented and dropped the idea.

 

Each summer, the producers would outline the storylines for the subsequent season. Before an episode went into production, Kauffman and Crane would revise the script written by another writer, mainly if something concerning either the series or a character felt foreign. Unlike other storylines, the idea for a relationship between Joey and Rachel was decided on halfway through the eighth season. The creators did not want Ross and Rachel to get back together so soon, and while looking for a romantic impediment, a writer suggested Joey’s romantic interest in Rachel. The storyline was incorporated into the season; however, when the actors feared that the storyline would make their characters unlikable, the storyline was wrapped up, until it again resurfaced in the season’s finale. For the ninth season, the writers were unsure about the amount of storyline to give to Rachel’s baby, as they wanted the show neither to revolve around a baby nor pretend there to be none. Crane said that it took them a while to accept the idea of a tenth season, which they decided to do because they had enough stories left to tell to justify the season. Kauffman and Crane would not have signed on for an eleventh season, even if all the cast members had wanted to continue.

 

The episode title format—”The One…”—was created when the producers realized that the episode titles would not be featured in the opening credits, and therefore would be unknown to most of the audience. They believed that sitcom audiences generally refer to specific episodes of a show by the most memorable event of the episode, and decided to name their episodes in that format.

 

Filming

 

The first season was shot on Stage 5 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. The NBC executives had worried that the coffee house setting was too hip and asked for the series to be set in a diner, but eventually consented to the coffee house concept. The opening title sequence was filmed in a fountain at the Warner Bros. Ranch at 4:00 am, while it was particularly cold for a Burbank morning. At the beginning of the second season, production moved to the larger Stage 24, which was renamed “The Friends Stage” after the series finale. Filming for the series began in the summer of 1994 in front of a live audience, who were given a summary of the series to familiarize themselves with the six main characters; a hired comedian entertained the studio audience between takes. Each 22-minute episode took six hours to film—twice the length of most sitcom tapings—mainly due to the several retakes and rewrites of the script.

 

Although the producers always wanted to find the right stories to take advantage of being on location, F.R.I.E.N.D.S was never shot in New York. Bright felt that filming outside the studio made episodes less funny, even when shooting on the lot outside, and that the live audience was an integral part of the series. When the series was criticized for incorrectly depicting New York, with the financially struggling group of friends being able to afford huge apartments, Bright noted that the set had to be big enough for the cameras, lighting, and “for the audience to be able to see what’s going on”; the apartments also needed to provide a place for the actors to execute the funny scripts. The fourth season finale was shot on location in London because the producers were aware of the series’ large following in the UK. The scenes were shot in a studio with three audiences of 500 each, the show’s largest audiences throughout its run. The fifth season finale, set in Las Vegas, was filmed at Warner Bros. Studios, although Bright encountered people who thought it was filmed on location.

Source: wikipedia.org

The series featured six main cast members throughout its run, with numerous characters recurring throughout the ten seasons. The main cast members were familiar to television viewers before their roles on F.R.I.E.N.D.S, but were not considered to be stars. During the series’ ten season run, the actors all achieved household name celebrity status.

Jennifer Aniston portrays Rachel Green, a fashion enthusiast and Monica Geller’s best friend from high school. Rachel and Ross Geller are involved in an on again off again relationship throughout the series. Rachel’s first job is as a waitress at the coffee house Central Perk, but she later becomes an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale’s and a buyer at Ralph Lauren in season five. At the end of season eight, Rachel and Ross have a child together, which she names Emma. Aniston had already appeared in several unsuccessful sitcom pilots before being cast in F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Courteney Cox Arquette portrays Monica Geller, the mother hen of the group, known for her obsessive-compulsive and competitive nature. Monica is often jokingly teased for having been an extremely overweight child by the others, especially her brother Ross. Monica is a chef who changes jobs often throughout the show, and marries longtime friend Chandler Bing in season seven. Cox had the highest profile career of the main actors when she was initially cast, having appeared in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Family Ties.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S ‘ cast in the first season, from left to right, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Courteney Cox Arquette as Monica Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller and Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing.Lisa Kudrow portrays Phoebe Buffay, an eccentric masseuse and musician. Phoebe is known for her self-written guitar songs and for being ditzy yet street-smart. In the last season, she marries a character named Mike Hannigan, played by Paul Rudd. Kudrow previously played Ursula Buffay on Mad About You, and reprised the dual role of twin sister Ursula as a recurring character during several episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Before her role on F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Kudrow was an office manager and researcher for her father, a headache specialist.

Matt LeBlanc portrays Joey Tribbiani, a struggling actor and food lover who becomes famous for his role on Days of our Lives as Dr. Drake Ramoray. Joey is a womanizer with many girlfriends throughout the series, and develops a crush on his friend Rachel in season eight. Before his role on F.R.I.E.N.D.S, LeBlanc appeared as a minor character in the sitcom Married… with Children, and as a main character in its spin-offs, Top of the Heap and Vinnie & Bobby.

Matthew Perry portrays Chandler Bing, an executive in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration for a large multi-national corporation. Chandler quits his job and becomes a junior copywriter at an advertising agency during season nine. Chandler is known for his sarcastic sense of humor, and marries longtime friend Monica. Like Aniston, Perry had already appeared in several unsuccessful sitcom pilots before being cast.

David Schwimmer portrays Ross Geller, a paleontologist working at a museum of Prehistoric History, and later a professor of paleontology at New York University. Ross is involved in an on-off relationship with Rachel throughout the series. Ross also has three failed marriages during the series, which include Rachel, Emily, and his lesbian ex-wife Carol, who is also the mother of his son, Ben. Before being cast in F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Schwimmer played minor characters in The Wonder Years and NYPD Blue.

 

Series creator David Crane wanted all six characters to be equally prominent, and the series was lauded as being “the first true ‘ensemble’ show”. The cast members made efforts to keep the ensemble format and not allow one member to dominate; they entered themselves in the same acting categories for awards, opted for collective instead of individual salary negotiations, and asked to appear together on magazine cover photos in the first season. The cast members became best friends off screen, and one guest star, Tom Selleck, reported sometimes feeling left out. The cast remained good friends after the series’ run, most notably Cox and Aniston, with Aniston being godmother to Cox and David Arquette’s daughter, Coco. In the official farewell commemorative book F.R.I.E.N.D.S ‘Til The End, each separately acknowledged in their interviews that the cast had become their family.

In their original contracts for the first season, each cast member was paid $22,500 per episode. The cast members received different salaries in the second season, beginning from the $20,000 range to $40,000 per episode. Prior to their salary negotiations for the third season, the cast decided to enter collective negotiations, despite Warner Bros. preference for individual deals. The actors were given the salary of the least paid cast member, meaning Aniston and Schwimmer had their salaries reduced. The stars were paid, per episode, $75,000 in the third season, $85,000 in the fourth, $100,000 in the fifth, and $125,000 in the sixth season. The cast members received salaries of $750,000 per episode in the seventh and eight seasons, and $1 million per episode in the ninth and tenth. The cast also received syndication royalties beginning with the fifth season.

Source: wikipedia.org