‘Friends’ Creators ‘Pushed Back’ After TV Executives Suggested Hiring A More Diverse Cast

Creators of the hit U.S. sitcom “Friends” are said to have refused when TV executives suggested hiring a more diverse group of actors, it’s been suggested.

EVP of freeform programming & development Karey Burke, who was present when Marta Kauffman and David Crane first pitched the beloved series, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter alongside Carolyn Newman (SVP scripted programming, eOne), Sarah Aubrey (EVP original programming, TNT) and Lauren Whitney (president of television, Miramax).

The foursome were discussing the importance of representation and inclusion in the industry when Burke made the remarks about “Friends”, saying that the creators “pushed back” when the suggestion of a more diverse cast was brought up.

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Burke explained that Kauffman and Crane had written the script with six straight white people in mind. “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.

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

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The tell-all chat also saw Newman offer advice to women coming up in Hollywood, urging them all to stick together. “Getting to find other people who are entry level and work together, that’s a good way of starting.”

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