‘Friends’ to Celebrate 25 Years With Pop-Up Store

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A sitcom featuring six attractive singles in their 20s and 30s, living in impossibly giant apartments in New York City. It was certainly a series of the times, when Friends premiered on September 22, 1994 as part of NBC’s primetime lineup. It still holds up and continues to rake in money for its participants.

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, the program lasted 10 seasons in first-run, anchoring the network’s Must-See TV Thursday night lineup.

It was an instant hit… a water cooler show that finished that first season as the eighth most-watched primetime series, its worst ranking. In subsequent years, it ranked 3-4-4-2-5-5-1-2-4, a remarkable feat.

The ensemble cast were paid a reported $22,500 per episode in that 1994-95 season. By season three, that number was up to $75K. In seasons seven and eight, each actor earned $750,000 per episode. In the last two years, that number increased to a cool $1 million per episode.

When the series debut, Aniston and Perry were just 25, LeBlanc and Schwimmer were 27, Cox was 30, and Kudrow was 31.

The program’s Facebook page has more than 20 million friends.

Friends was nominated for 62 Emmys, winning just six. The series still makes a boatload of money for its producer, Warner Bros. Television, through syndication and streaming deals. In 2015, USA Today wrote that the studio was still earning a whopping $1 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) per year. Its six stars earn 2% of that, giving Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Joey and Chandler $20 million each “for doing nothing,” is how the newspaper put it.

Friends‘ 25th anniversary will be celebrated this year with a month-long pop-up store in New York City. The ticketed experience will include set re-creations like Joey and Chandler’s apartment, Central Perk, and photo ops, and will run from September 7 – October 6. The official website indicates that the whole experience should last around one hour. Tickets must be booked on line. They’re priced at $29.50 (plus tax and service fees), and go on sale August 2.

A new book, Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era, arrives September 17.

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