The tenth and final season of Friends may have ended in 2004, but the hugely popular sitcom never lost its grip on people’s imaginations. The show continues to air on television and streaming sites around the world, allowing new generations of fans to discover and identify with the world of Friends.
Making the final season of Friends was a tall order for everyone involved in its production, from the show’s creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, to the main cast of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry . and David Schwimmer.
When a show is as successful as Friends, you might think that the people making it would want to take advantage of the franchise for as long as possible. But Friends co-creator David Crane has stated that they originally intended to end the series after season 7. And so, Friends made it past season seven. And then the eighth season. And then the ninth. Finally, with the tenth season looming on the horizon, David Crane revealed that both the producers and the main cast were determined to bring the show to a close once and for all.
“Season 10, we said, ‘We can’t keep stopping and starting and rethinking everything,'” Crane explained. “And that was also in line with what some of the cast members thought.”
Thus, the entire cast and crew of Friends entered Season 10 knowing full well that this would be their last. This air of finality hung over the entire season’s production and rumors began to spread among the entire production.
The background? By the time the final season rolled around, the lead actors on Friends made up the highest-paid cast in television history (until then), each earning $1 million per episode. What made it all even more remarkable was that the standard practice at the time was for individual actors to ask for raises in private, leading to significant differences in the amount each cast member was paid.
Instead, the six main cast members negotiated their salaries as a group and insisted that they all be paid the same amount. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy to see the cast make so much money, and series co-creator Marta Kauffman once commented during a Television Critics Association press conference criticizing these salaries. It is not known if the relationship was broken or not, but the story would culminate at the top of television.