Friends was created in 1993 by David Crane and Marta Kauffman as a follow-up to their cable series Dream On. Friends was aimed at young adults who, during the early 1990s, were identified by their café culture, dating scene and modern independence.
Originally to be named Across the Hall, Six of One, Insomnia Café, or Friends Like Us, Friends was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television, for NBC in the U.S., and was first broadcast on that network. 'Friends' debuted on September 22, 1994. The show was a huge success throughout its ten-year run and was a staple of the NBC Thursday night line-up. Kauffman and Crane note only one moment they would take back - the use of the line "I'm wearing two belts," in two different episodes and seasons. The final episode aired on May 6, 2004. The finale was one of the most-watched series finales in television history, behind only M*A*S*H, Cheers, and Seinfeld. The fountain seen in the opening title sequence can be found at the Warner Bros. Ranch at 411 N. Hollywood Way, in Burbank, California, about a half mile north of the main studio lot. The fountain was also used prominently in the finale of the Charlton Heston classic, The Omega Man, and in the film version of the Broadway musical, 1776. The opening scene was shot at about 4:00am while it was particularly cold for a Burbank morning.
After the series finale in 2004, the spin-off show Joey was created. Many fans heavily criticized NBC's decision to give the one-dimensional Joey character his own show and ratings decreased significantly between the first and second season. Forty-six episodes were filmed, but only 38 episodes aired in the U.S. The show was canceled on May 15, 2006. Only the first season has been released on DVD. The first episode drew 18.6 million viewers compared to the four million who tuned in to the final broadcast episode.