Although Friends fans can’t imagine anyone else playing the iconic role, Jennifer Aniston revealed that she had to beg to leave another sitcom to star in the beloved show. Aniston went on to play Rachel in all ten seasons of Friends, recently returning to set for the anticipated Friends: The Reunion special airing on HBO Max. So, Jennifer Aniston Begged To Leave Other Sitcom So She Could Star In Friends
Aniston earned both a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Rachel Green on Friends, a role that catapulted her into the international spotlight. During its run from 1994-2004, viewers of the show watched the character grow from a seemingly spoiled runaway bride to an independent woman with career aspirations. Before landing her role on the NBC show, Aniston appeared in Off-Broadway productions and short-lived television shows; however, Friends, launched an illustrious film career for Aniston after the show’s end.
During an interview with Gayle King on King’s SiriusXM show (via Deadline), Jennifer Aniston revealed she had to beg to get out of her role in another sitcom so she wouldn’t be recast on Friends. The show, Muddling Through, aired on CBS in 1994 with its final episode airing two weeks before the premiere of Friends. Aniston described what she said to a less-than-receptive producer of Muddling Through while speaking with King.
“I just went to the producer and I said, ‘please, please let me out of this show.’ I really love this other show that I’m doing. And because someone said, what could it hurt? Just go in there and ask to be let off. And that’s when he said ‘I’ve seen that show ‘Friends, I saw that show. I saw the pilot. That’s not going to make you a star. This show will make you a star.’”
Aniston also revealed Friends director James Burrows’ warning that Muddling Through would get picked up for another season just to spite Friends. However, due to some savvy scheduling on behalf of NBC executives, Muddling Through was only picked up for another three episodes before being canceled, leaving Aniston open to take the role of Rachel Green. Fortunately, those who worked with Aniston on Muddling Through are better known for having particularly bad takes about what makes good television, rather than being the reason Aniston couldn’t star in Friends.
It’s hard to imagine a world that exists without the impact of Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green. Recasting the role would have taken away the undeniable chemistry between Ross and Rachel, or even between Rachel and Gunther. However, perhaps the biggest loss would have been for the women of the 1990s who emulated the square-styled haircut dubbed “The Rachel” after the show’s first and second seasons. The character’s impact on pop culture was elevated by Aniston’s portrayal, and new fans are rediscovering the character everyday as a result of access to streaming Friends on HBO Max.