Conception"It's about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything's possible. And it's about friendship because when you're single and in the city, your 老友记 are your family."
—The original treatment used 由 Crane, Kauffman and Bright to pitch the series to NBC.
David 起重机 and Marta Kauffman began developing three new 电视 pilots which would premiere in the fall of 1994 after their sitcom Family Album was cancelled 由 CBS in 1993. Kauffman and 起重机 decided to pitch the series about "six people in their 20s making their way in Manhattan" to NBC, since they thought it would fit best there. 起重机 and Kauffman presented the idea to their production partner Kevin Bright, who had served as executive producer on their HBO series Dream On. The idea for the series was conceived when 起重机 and Kauffman began thinking about the time when they had finished college and started living 由 themselves in New York; Kauffman believed they were looking at a time when the future was "more of a 问题 mark." They found the concept to be interesting, as they believed "everybody knows that feeling," and because it was also how they felt about their own lives at the time. The team titled the series Insomnia Cafe, and pitched the idea as a seven-page treatment to NBC in December 1993.
At the same time, Warren Littlefield, the then-president of NBC Entertainment, was seeking a comedy involving young people living together and sharing expenses. Littlefield wanted the group to share memorable periods of their lives with friends, who had become "new, surrogate family members". However, Littlefield found difficulty in bringing the concept to life, and found the scripts developed 由 NBC to be terrible. When Kauffman, 起重机 and Bright pitched Insomnia Cafe, Littlefield was impressed that they knew who their characters were. NBC bought the idea as a put pilot, meaning they risked financial penalties if the pilot was not filmed. Kauffman and 起重机 began 写作 a pilot script for a 显示 now titled 老友记 Like Us, which took three days to write. Littlefield wanted the series to represent Generation X and explore a new kind of tribal bonding, but the trio did not share his vision. 起重机 argued that it was not a series for one generation, and wanted to produce a series that everyone would enjoy watching. NBC liked the pilot script and ordered the series under another title, Six of One, mainly due to the similar 标题 it shared with the ABC sitcom These 老友记 of Mine.
 CastingSee also: The Pilot (Friends)
The producers wanted Courteney Cox to portray Rachel; however, Cox instead requested to play Monica.Once it became apparent that the series was a favored project at NBC, Littlefield reported that he was getting calls from every agent in town, wanting their client to be a part of the series. Auditions for the lead roles took place in New York and Los Angeles. The casting director shortlisted 1,000 actors who had applied for each role down to 75. Those who received a callback read again in front of Crane, Kauffman and Bright. At the end of March, the number of potential actors had been reduced to three 或者 four for each part, and were asked to read for Les Moonves, then-president of Warner Bros. Television.
Having worked with David Schwimmer in the past, the series creators wrote the character of Ross with him in mind, and he was the first actor cast. Cox wanted to play the role of Monica, but the producers had her in mind to play Rachel because of her "cheery, upbeat energy", which was not how they envisioned Monica; after Cox's audition, though, Kauffman agreed with Cox, and she got the role. When Matt LeBlanc auditioned for Joey, he put a "different spin" on the character. The writers did not originally intend for Joey to be dim, but found it to be a major 来源 of comedy. LeBlanc also gave the character heart, which the writers did not realize Joey had. Although 起重机 and Kauffman did not want LeBlanc for the role at the time, they were told 由 the network to cast him. Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow were cast based on their auditions.
更多 changes occurred to the series' storylines during the casting process. The writers found that they had to adjust the characters they had written to suit the actors, and the discovery process of the characters occurred throughout the first season. Kauffman acknowledged that Joey's character became "this whole new being", and that "it wasn't until we did the first Thanksgiving episode that we realized how much fun Monica's neuroses are."
 WritingIn the weeks after NBC's pick up of Friends, Crane, Kauffman and Bright reviewed sent-in scripts that writers had originally prepared for other series, mainly unproduced Seinfeld episodes. Kauffman and 起重机 hired a team of seven young writers because "When you're 40, 你 can't do it anymore. The networks and studios are looking for young people coming in out of college." The creators felt that utilizing six equal characters, rather than emphasizing one 或者 two, would allow for "myriad storylines and give the 显示 legs". The majority of the storyline ideas came from the writers, although the actors added ideas. The writers originally planned a big 爱情 story between Joey and Monica, as they intended them to be the most sexual of the characters in the series pitch. The idea of a romantic interest between Ross and Rachel emerged during the period when Kauffman and 起重机 wrote the pilot script.
During production of the pilot, NBC requested that the script be changed to feature one dominant storyline and several minor ones, but the writers refused, wanting to keep three storylines of equal weight. NBC thought the cast was too young and pushed for an older character who could give the young adults advice. 起重机 and Kauffman were forced to comply and wrote a draft of an early episode that featured "Pat the Cop". 起重机 found the storyline to be terrible, and Kauffman joked, "You know the kids book, Pat the Bunny? We had Pat the Cop." NBC eventually relented and dropped the idea.
Each summer, the producers would outline the storylines for the subsequent season. Before an episode went into production, Kauffman and 起重机 would revise the script written 由 another writer, mainly if something concerning either the series 或者 a character felt foreign. Unlike other storylines, the idea for a relationship between Joey and Rachel was decided on halfway through the eighth season. The creators did not want Ross and Rachel to get back together so soon, and while looking for a romantic impediment, a writer suggested Joey's romantic interest in Rachel. The storyline was incorporated into the season; however, when the actors feared that the storyline would make their characters unlikable, the storyline was wrapped up, until it again resurfaced in the season's finale. For the ninth season, the writers were unsure about the amount of storyline to give to Rachel's baby, as they wanted the 显示 neither to revolve around a baby nor pretend there to be none. 起重机 说 that it took them a while to accept the idea of a tenth season, which they decided to do because they had enough stories left to tell to justify the season. Kauffman and 起重机 would not have signed on for an eleventh season, even if all the cast members had wanted to continue.
The episode 标题 format—"The One..."—was created when the producers realized that the episode titles would not be featured in the opening credits, and therefore would be unknown to most of the audience.
The Greenwich Village building used as the friends' apartment block in establishing shotsThe first season was shot on Stage 5 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. NBC executives had worried that the coffee house setting was too hip and asked for the series to be set in a diner, but eventually consented to the coffee house concept. The opening 标题 sequence was filmed in a 喷泉 at the Warner Bros. Ranch at 4:00 am, while it was particularly cold for a Burbank morning. At the beginning of the 秒 season, production moved to the larger Stage 24, which was renamed "The 老友记 Stage" after the series finale. Filming for the series began in the summer of 1994 in front of a live audience, who were 给 a summary of the series to familiarize themselves with the six main characters; a hired comedian entertained the studio audience between takes. Each 22-minute episode took six hours to film—twice the length of most sitcom tapings—mainly due to the several retakes and rewrites of the script.
Although the producers always wanted to find the right stories to take advantage of being on location, 老友记 was never shot in New York. Bright felt that filming outside the studio made episodes less funny, even when shooting on the lot outside, and that the live audience was an integral part of the series. When the series was criticized for incorrectly depicting New York, with the financially struggling group of 老友记 being able to afford huge apartments, Bright noted that the set had to be big enough for the cameras, lighting, and "for the audience to be able to see what's going on"; the apartments also needed to provide a place for the actors to execute the funny scripts. The fourth season finale was shot on location in 伦敦 because the producers were aware of the series' popularity in the UK. The scenes were shot in a studio with three audiences each made up of 500 people. These were the show's largest audiences throughout its run. The fifth season finale, set in Las Vegas, was filmed at Warner Bros. Studios, although Bright encountered people who thought it was filmed on location.