NBC network bosses immediately thought of Aniston as the perfect person to portray Green when they were presented with the comedy and they cast her alongside co-stars Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer.
But she had yet to sign a contract with NBC to officially join the show by the time it was ready to go into production in 1994, and TV executive Warren Littlefield admits they took a huge risk keeping Aniston on the project instead of simply recasting the role – because they weren’t completely sure if she’d be able to quit her other job.
In an interview on U.S. breakfast show Today on Friday (27Apr12), he said, “We had a little difficulty. She had actually signed on to do a series at CBS and we had to take her in second position. We did the pilot that way, and she still wasn’t available.
“We had to go into series production throwing millions of dollars at risk and we still did not have the rights to go forward with Jennifer.”
Aniston was eventually able to commit to Friends and the programme went on to become one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, winning multiple awards, including Emmy and Golden Globe honours – and launching her career.