[quote]If I remember correctly, it was on David Schwimmer's insistence, and he had to fight the show runners to have an African -American actress cast as his love interest.
It was the NAACP and a few other organizations that noticed that the show avoided casting black actors in speaking roles. It was 7 seasons before they cast one. They cast Gabrielle Union for a single episode and then two years later Aisha Tyler for an arc. Furthermore, Aisha auditioned with actresses of all races. They weren't necessarily going to make the character black. However, they liked her and figured they'd kill that bird with a stone and it "sadly" made history. Sadly, as in, it shouldn't have taken them that long to do that. She still gets interviewed about it.
[quote]Wasn't it "These Friends of Mine" aka "Ellen"? They were always using each others' storylines and one time Ellen in character said, "we were first! And we had the couch first!"
No, it was "Living Single" he wanted since it was very popular at the time on Fox. Queen Latifah, Kim Fields were the most famous at the time. Kim Coles had been on In Living Color and Erika Alexander had been on The Cosby Show. "These Friends of Mine" and "Friends" were completely different shows. Ellen jokes that they were the same show but they both had completely different dynamics even after the show was retooled.
Friends had two women sharing an apartment (Monica, Rachel), one goofy friend that visited them (Phoebe), two guy friends that lived across the hall one serious and one kind of out there, (Chandler, Joey) and then one friend who seemed rather competent in his field (Ross).
Living Single had three women sharing an apartment, (Khadijah, Synclaire, Regina), one friend that visited (Maxine) and two guys that lived across the hall they were friends with and one was serious and one was kind of out there (Overton and Kyle.)
Monica was the Khadijah, Phoebe was the Synclaire, Rachel was the Regina, Ross was the Maxine, Joey was the Overton and Kyle was the Chandler. Their character types were very much the same. One was in Brooklyn, the other was in Manhattan but at least that cast got along for the most part.
No one at NBC has ever refuted the claims of the producers or cast of Living Single that Friends originated with their idea.