Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. With an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, the show revolves around six 20–30 year old friends living in Manhattan, New York City. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The original executive producers were Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane.
Kauffman and Crane began developing Friends under the title Insomnia Cafe between November and December 1993. They presented the idea to Bright, and together they pitched a seven-page treatment of the show to NBC. After several script rewrites and changes, including a title change to Six of One, and, Friends Like Us, the series was finally named Friends.
Filming of the show took place at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. All ten seasons of Friends ranked within the top ten of the final television season ratings; ultimately reaching the number one spot in its eighth season. The series finale, aired on May 6, 2004, was watched by around 52.5 million American viewers, making it the fifth most-watched series finale in television history, and the most-watched television episode of the 2000s decade.
Rachel Green flees her wedding day and finds childhood friend Monica Geller, a New York City chef. They become roommates, and Rachel joins Monica’s group of single people in their mid-20s: Struggling actor Joey Tribbiani, business professional Chandler Bing, masseuse and musician Phoebe Buffay, and newly divorced palaeontologist Ross Geller, Monica’s older brother. Rachel becomes a waitress at fictitious Manhattan coffee house Central Perk; when not there, the group is usually at Monica and Rachel’s nearby West Village apartment, or Joey and Chandler’s across the hall.
Episodes depict the friends’ comedic and romantic adventures and career issues, such as Joey auditioning for roles or Rachel seeking jobs in the fashion industry. The six characters each have many dates and serious relationships, such as Monica with Richard Burke and Ross with Emily Waltham. Ross and Rachel’s intermittent relationship is the most often-recurring storyline; during the ten seasons of the show they repeatedly date and break up, while Ross briefly marries Emily, he and Rachel have a child, Chandler and Monica date and marry each other, and Phoebe marries Mike Hannigan. Other frequently recurring characters include Ross and Monica’s parents, Jack and Judy, from Long Island; Ross’s ex-wife, Carol and their son, Ben; Central Perk barista Gunther; Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice; and Phoebe’s twin sister Ursula.