There was a time when Friends was almost canceled, and its motive was identical to that of the comedy series The Big Bang Theory. Here we explain why Friends was about to be canceled in season 4 and what it has to do with The Big Bang Theory.
It is clear that there are comedy series from yesterday and today much better than Friends, but even with this, the series created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman marked a whole generation of viewers and has become one of the greatest references in entertainment. Such is the case that currently streaming networks and platforms pay millionaire amounts for owning their broadcasting rights, being one of the most viewed (and re-viewed) products by their users.
But Friends not only marked its fans, but also the actors who worked on it and other future television series, many of them following various guidelines that the main actors followed when making pineapple all together, both for good and for bad. Something that the protagonists of The Big Bang Theory, one of the most successful recent comedy series, followed very well.
This came to cause several gaps when producing the series, endangering its cancellation on more than one occasion, moved for the same reason that later would imitate The Big Bang Theory. We tell you below the story of Why Friends was about to be canceled in season 4 and what does it have to do with the Big Bang Theory.
Surely the most serial fans already intuit where the shots are going. And there is no gentleman more powerful than Mr. Money. And when a television series begins to reap overwhelming success, it is important to take good care of your main stars if you want that success to last for many years to come.
That’s what the Friends actors must have thought when they saw that their salary was not increasing in proportion to the success generated and, therefore, to the profits that both NBC and Warner Bros. were taking. In the beginning, each actor earned $ 22,500 per episode and his salary increased by $ 40,000 per episode. when Friends started to get more popular.
But for David Schwimmer that was not enough, and he feared that over time the most famous leading actors would earn more salary compared to the others and the pineapple that they had formed so well in this time (thanks to the tricks that Courteney Cox learned after his time in Seinfeld) was ruined. That is why both Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston agreed that everyone had to earn the same amount of money, since they are all equally important in Friends.
Well, deep down, some Friends characters were more important than others to their creators, since the main story focused on the relationship between Ross and Rachel, so to Schwimmer and Aniston were offered a raise, leaving the salaries of the six protagonists mismatched..
David Schwimmer’s mother is a Hollywood personals divorce attorney, so she had the perfect advice to give her son to resolve their conflict: “Don’t let them divide you,” she told him. So both he and Aniston got together to negotiate for everyone to earn the same money. They succeeded, but not in the way they would have liked, since instead of raising the salary of the others, they cut the salary of the couple starring in Friends so that the others had the same money, going on to charge each one $ 75,000 per episode during season four.
But that wasn’t enough for the main characters of Friends either, so the entire cast decided to renegotiate their salaries again, something that almost led to the cancellation of Friends in its season 4. They asked for a raise of $ 100,000 per episode and a share of the show’s revenue when it went into rebroadcasting in 1998.
At that time it was quite unheard of for actors to charge a share of the profits derived from the sale of broadcasting rights, unless they were also co-owners of the series as Jerry Seinfeld was with his series. That plus his exorbitant salary figure made the executives of the series consider the future of Friends very seriously.
“The numbers were crazy when it came time to renew their contracts. The night before we were going to announce the schedule, I was in a restaurant bathroom and got a call from Warner Bros. ‘It’s starting,’ they said. The negotiation it started around 10:00 pm and closed around 3:00 am, “network executive Harold Brook said in an interview. “We did two promotions. One was the end of the season and the other was the end of the series.”
But the actors did not bend their arm and even threatened to go on strike during the filming if they did not comply with their demands. Until that moment, it had never been the case that all the actors negotiated their contracts as a group, an idea that the actors of The Big Bang Theory would later take up.
His threats were transferred to other series that were broadcast at that time, joining the cause of Friends. The actors of the Fox series New York Undercover went on strike to triple their salary following the example of Friends. But they backfired, as their producer Dick Wolf denounced them for breach of contract and wrote a script in which their characters died in a fire, opening a casting to choose the new cast. Before this the actors of New York Undercover returned to work immediately.
“What I would have done would have been to go public on the first day, declare that I was very disappointed by the cast’s decision to go public with the negotiation to use the press for their own benefit and announce that, with great regret, Matt LeBlanc (Joey) I would not be part of the cast next year, “said Dick Wolf, stating that after LeBlanc’s dismissal the others would have returned to work without question. Come on, a bit like what Monica did with Joey so that the employees of his restaurant would respect him, only without being previously prepared with him.
In the end the Friends actors got away with it and went on to earn $ 100,000 per episode starting in season 5, and little by little they increased the salary until at the end of the series each of them earned a million dollars per episode.
In the case of The Big Bang Theory something similar happened. The main actors also made pineapple following the example of Friends so that everyone would charge the same. However, from season 4 on, the actresses Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik (who played Bernadette and Amy respectively in fiction) began to have the same leading role as Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg , but they charged five times less than their co-stars, earning $ 200,000 per episode compared to the million dollars per episode earned by the rest of the protagonists.
The controversy subsided when the actors who played Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj and Howard They agreed to cut their pay so that during seasons 11 and 12 all the main leads of The Big Bang Theory would earn $ 450,000 per episode, considerably increasing the salary of actresses.
This is the story about Why Friends was about to be canceled in season 4 and what does it have to do with the Big Bang Theory. If you want to know more serial curiosities, here we show you what “bottle episodes” are and why they were used both in series and Friends.