'Friends' Producer Stands by All-White Casting Amidst Continued Scrutiny

Following the Friends reunion, producers of the popular sitcom are facing a myriad of complaints that have resurfaced –– a large one being the lack of minority cast members on the show. However, producers aren't apologizing for their previous decisions. Executive producer Kevin Bright didn't mince his words when confronted with the history in The Hollywood Reporter. "The chemistry between these six actors speaks for itself," he said of the history-making cast.

"What can I say? I wish Lisa was Black?" he said. "I've loved this cast. I loved the show and I loved the experience. I know Marta has a different feeling about it. I think it affects us all." Co-creator Marta Kauffman added to Bright's comments saying, "there are probably a hundred things I would have done differently. I've talked about it in the past and I do have very strong feelings about my participation in a system, but it comes down to I didn't know what I didn't know."

In light of the special's popularity, another ongoing conversation regarding a Living Single reunion has been brought back to life –– largely since the two shows have been compared as the White and Black versions of the same show. Many say Friends is a rip-off of Living Single, especially since the latter show premiered a year before Friends in 1993. It's not the first time the show's race problem has been addressed by its own cast. Last year, Schwimmer acknowledged the lack of diversity in an interview with The Guardian saying, "Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends."


Actress Erika Alexander, who played Maxine Shaw in the other sitcom, responded to Schwimmer's comments in an essay. "You see, David didn't realize that the so-called, all Black Friends had already happened," she wrote. "In fact, I was in it. A sitcom I'm proud of, called Living Single, created by Yvette Lee Bowser. And we happened a year before his show, Friends, was on the air. In fact, Living Single had happened within the same studio, Warner Brothers, in Burbank, on the annexed lot near his called The Warner Ranch."