Friday, April 4, 2008

British and Irish ratings

Friends was first aired on the terrestrial Channel 4, but was soon taken over by satellite subscription channel Sky One while the latter was still a minor player in the television market. The series achieved a more mainstream audience through repeat showings on Channel 4. The program continues to be repeated daily on E4, Channel 4 and S4C in Wales, still achieving good ratings.

The Irish channel RTÉ Two was the first channel in Europe to air both the premiere and finale episodes of Friends.[24] The show achieved exceptionally high ratings throughout the initial run, and continues to run twice weekly on RTÉ Two, and every weekday on Channel 6. It can also be viewed on E4 and Channel 4 from Britain.

Preceded by
Super Bowl
lead-out program
Succeeded by

Australian and New Zealand ratings

Friends debuted on Australian television in 1996, on the Seven Network. For the first season, it averaged 1,788,000 viewers per episode, and was the 8th most watched regular programme that year. The second season aired on the Nine Network in 1997, and took the number 2 position and averaged 2,291,000 viewers per episode. The third season aired in 1998 and saw an increase in its position and viewers, being the most watched regular programme, averaging 2,543,000 viewers per episode. Repeats were also averaging 1,918,000 viewers, and they were the 6th most watched regular programme of the year. The fourth season aired in 1999, and continued to increase in ratings, averaging 2,586,000 viewers. The fifth season aired in 2000 but saw a slight drop in viewers, averaging 2,340,000 viewers per episode, but still managed to retain its number one position.

The sixth season, aired in 2001, fell into a contentious year for TV ratings in Australia. Previously, ratings had been calculated by Nielsen Media Research, but OzTAM took over. OzTAM showed slight differences in ratings for most shows broadcast on Nine Network, and saw a significant drop in total viewers across all networks. Oztam had Friends averaging 1,816,000 viewers nationally, and ranked it as the 3rd most watched programme of the year. Nielsen Media Research Australia, however, had Friends averaging 2,340,000 viewers per episode, and ranked it as the most watched program.

The eight season, aired in 2003, saw erratic scheduling of Friends on the Nine Network, and as a result saw a major drop in viewers. It ranked as the 10th most watched regular program that year, averaging 1,629,000 viewers. As a reult of the Athens Olympic, Friends saw a decrease in its ratings. It was put on hiatus twice, being four and seven months long respectively. The tenth season averaged 1,716,000 viewers per episode, and was ranked as the 6th most watched program of the year. It was also ranked as the third most watched scripted program. The finale averaged 2,273,000 viewers, though it was not the highest rated episode of Friends ever.

While Cable TV channel Arena (a Foxtel and Optus channel) aired Friends repeats daily, channel Nine did not air Friends repeats like it did with another popular US sitcom, Frasier. In November 2007, it was announced that Network Ten has bought the rights to the show, and that it would air it seven nights a week from December 2nd screening at 7:00p.m., replacing Futurama repeats. It was also a part of the 2007/2008 summer schedule, meaning that the show has aired on all of Australia's "Big Three" television networks. In February 2008, Friends was moved to the 6pm Monday-Friday timeslot, and replaced long-running 6pm repeats of The Simpsons in Network Ten's regular schedule. Due to sexual content and low level course language, many episodes were edited to fit the G ratings, and the first two episodes of the fifth season were cut altogether due to Monica and Chandlers relationship acts.

In New Zealand, Friends first debuted on TV2 during the middle of 1995. The show typically screened around 7:30pm on Wednesday nights but some seasons were screened on Sunday nights. Repeats were screened at 7:00pm during December and January between 1996 and 1998 when Shortland Street went off the air for the Summer break. TV2 began screening repeats at 6:30pm from 2000 onwards running constant repeats of all seasons made to date. Currently the show has gone off the air and is now replaced by repeats of Joey, with the channel calling it Friends: The Joey Years.

US ratings

The 66-minute series finale was named by Entertainment Tonight as the biggest TV moment of the year 2004, and was the second highest rated show in 2004, bringing in 52.5 million viewers (43% of all viewers that night), beaten only by the Super Bowl.[22] However, it did not surpass the ratings received by series finales for M*A*S*H (106m), Cheers (80.4m) or Seinfeld (76.3m), nor was it the most watched episode of Friends—that accolade remains with the Season Two episode "The One After the Superbowl", which aired on January 28, 1996 and drew 52.9 m viewers.

Seasonal Nielsen Rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Friends on NBC:[23]

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, or occasionally early June, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 Thursday 8:30 P.M. (September 22, 1994 - February 23, 1995)
Thursday 9:30 P.M.(February 23, 1995 - May 18, 1995)
September 22, 1994 May 18, 1995 1994-1995 #8 24.3
2 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 1995 - January 18, 1996)
Sunday 10:13 P.M.(January 28, 1996);
Thursday 8:00 P.M. (February 1, 1996 - May 16, 1996)
September 21, 1995 May 16, 1996 1995-1996 #3 29.4
3 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 19, 1996 - May 15, 1997) September 19, 1996 May 15, 1997 1996-1997 #4 25.0
4 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 25, 1997 - May 7, 1998) September 25, 1997 May 7, 1998 1997-1998 #4 24.1
5 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 24, 1998 - May 20, 1999) September 24, 1998 May 20, 1999 1998-1999 #2 23.5
6 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 23, 1999 - May 18, 2000) September 23, 1999 May 18, 2000 1999-2000 #5 20.7
7 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (October 12, 2000 - May 17, 2001) October 12, 2000 May 17, 2001 2000-2001 #5 20.2
8 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 27, 2001 - October 4, 2001)
Thursday 8:50 P.M. (October 11, 2001)
Thursday 8:00 P.M. (October 18, 2001 - May 16, 2002)
September 27, 2001 May 16, 2002 2001-2002 #1 24.5
9 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 26, 2002 - May 15, 2003) September 26, 2002 May 15, 2003 2002-2003 #2 21.6
10 Thursday 8:00 P.M. (September 25, 2003 - April 29, 2004)
Thursday 9:00 P.M. (May 6, 2004)
September 25, 2003 May 6, 2004 2003-2004 #3 22.8

Awards and nominations

Over the ten years the show ran the show mainly won Emmy Awards over other awards such as Golden Globes and SAG Awards. It won 6 Emmys out of 63 nominationsAwards

;Emmy Awards

Golden Globe Awards
  • 2003 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy - Jennifer Aniston
People's Choice Awards
  • 2004 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
  • 2004 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
  • 2003 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
  • 2003 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
  • 2002 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
  • 2002 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
  • 2001 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
  • 2001 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
  • 2000 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
  • 2000 - Favorite Female Television Performer - Jennifer Aniston
  • 1999 - Favorite Television Comedy Series
  • 1995 - Favorite New Television Comedy
Screen Actors Guild Awards
  • 2000 - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series - Lisa Kudrow
  • 1996 - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

[edit] Nominations

;Emmy Awards

  • Outstanding Comedy Series (1995-96, 1999-2000, 2003) 5 nominations
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jennifer Aniston (2003-04) 2 nominations
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Matt LeBlanc (2002-04) 3 nominations
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Matthew Perry (2002)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Jennifer Aniston (2000-01) 2 nominations
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Lisa Kudrow (1995, 1997, 1999, 2000-01) 5 nominations
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series David Schwimmer (1995)
Golden Globe Awards
  • Best TV Series-Comedy (1996-1998, 2002-2004) 6 nominations
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series-Comedy Matt LeBlanc (2003-04)
  • Best TV Supporting Actress Jennifer Aniston (2002)
  • Best TV Supporting Actress Lisa Kudrow (1996)
Screen Actors Guild
  • Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1999-2004) 6 nominations
  • Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Matt LeBlanc (2003)
  • Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Lisa Kudrow (1999, 2004) 2 nominations
  • Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Jennifer Aniston (2002-03) 2 nominations
American Comedy Award
  • Funniest Supporting Female Performer in a TV Series Courteney Cox (1999)
Kids' Choice Awards
Teen Choice Award

Cultural impact

Friends has made a notable contribution to some areas of popular culture - in particular, language and fashion. The use of "so" to mean "very" or "really" was not invented by any Friends writer, but it is arguable that the extensive use of the phrase in the series encouraged its use in everyday life[17] (others assert that the use of "so" on Friends as an "unconditional" in the sense of "absolutely" ["You are so moving"; "You are so dead"], supplanting its 80s counterpart "totally," was much more influential than "so" in the sense of "very," which was firmly established in the vernacular long before Friends). The series has also been noted for its impact on everyday fashion and hairstyles. Jennifer Aniston's hairstyle was nicknamed "The Rachel" and copied around the world.[18]

Joey Tribbiani's catchphrase "How you doin'?" has become a popular part of Western English slang, often used as a pick-up line or when greeting friends.[19] The show also popularized the idea of the "laminated list", a list of celebrities that a person's partner will permit them to sleep with if they were to ever meet them. In "The One with Frank Jr." the characters exchange "lists" verbally, while Ross creates a physical list and laminates it, making his choices permanent. The concept of the laminated list has been adopted by the Hollywood Stock Exchange website.[20]

The phrase "Ross and Rachel" has appeared as a joke in Scrubs: the janitor describes J.D.'s relationship with Elliot as "not exactly Ross and Rachel." After a pause, the "Ross and Rachel" in question is revealed to be two other employees in the hospital, "Dr. Ross, and Rachel from book keeping," and the offscreen shots. Friends has been referenced again in the Scrubs episode, "My Cold Shower"; Carla describes J.D and Elliot's relationship as being, "On and off more than Ross and Rachel, from Friends", J.D then explains how he is nothing like Ross and in Doctor Cox's tradition of calling J.D girl's names, he tells J.D he's more like Rachel. On the television show One Tree Hill, a character references Ross saying the wrong name at the altar when he was marrying Emily. In one episode of the British show Skins, a Russian girl learns English from Friends, and uses many of the catchphrases (such as "How you doin'" and "We were on a break") as a recurring joke.

One of the principal settings of the series, the "Central Perk" coffee house has inspired various imitations worldwide (the coffee house is based on Cholmondeley's, a coffee shop and lounge in Usen Castle at Brandeis University, the alma mater of the show's creators), including the now-defunct "Phoenix Perk" in Dublin (named for the park in the city, and the 'Riverdale Perk' in Toronto. In 2006 Iranian businessman Mojtaba Asadian started a "Central Perk" franchise, registering the name in 32 countries. The décor of his coffee houses are inspired by that in Friends. James Michael Tyler attended the grand opening of the flagship Dubai café and is the spokesman for the company.[21]

One of Phoebe's songs, "Smelly Cat", became popular enough to be adopted by a group of Portuguese comedians claiming to be fans of Friends, who named their show "Gato Fedorento" (Portuguese for "smelly cat"). This choice of name was probably the basis for their statement that they 'often steal ideas from American comedians'. The cat (normally drawn with smell lines) has become Gato Fedorento's mascot, and the four comedians are usually known as "the smelly cats" or simply "the cats". One of the comedians, José Diogo Quintela, has stated that he thought "smelly cat" meant "cranky chair" in English, and some fans still call the show Cadeira Rançosa (cranky chair). The show was one of NBC's most popular shows, and along with Will and Grace was one of the few shows not to include a laughter track in its final season.

It is noted every single episode is named 'The One...', e.g. 'The One with Ross' Inappropriate Song'. This reflects how people, typically unaware of an episode's actual title, in conversation simply identify as, for example, 'the one where they get married'.

The show has also shown an cultural impact in other countries, in a song text (Bråkmaker) made from the Norwegian rap buddies Erik & Kriss [1] they song "Kan vi ikke bare komme overens, Stikke hjem til meg og se noen episoder av Friends", translated into English means "Can't we just get along, go home to me and watch some episodes of friends"?


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.[13]

Originally to be named Across the Hall, Six of One, Insomnia Café, or Friends Like Us,[14] 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.[13] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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.