‘Friends’ Star David Schwimmer Reacts To Erika Alexander’s Reminder That ‘Living Single’ Came First

Friends star David Schwimmer is clarifying comments he made in a recent interview. The actor took to Twitter to respond to actress Erika Alexander, after she called him out for seemingly forgetting that her sitcom, Living Single, came before Friends.

Last month, Schwimmer defended Friends against critics of the show’s lack of racial diversity before admitting that “maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends.”

In response, Alexander reminded Schwimmer that there was an all-black Friends Living Single. That show debuted on Fox in 1993, one year before Schwimmer’s Emmy-winning ensemble premiered on NBC.

“Hey @DavidSchwimmer… r u seriously telling me you’ve never heard of #LivingSingle?” Alexander tweeted. “We invented the template. Yr welcome, bro.”

In a lengthy retort posted by TV Line, Schwimmer noted that some of his comments may have been taken out of context and that he meant no disrespect to the stars of other significant TV shows of the era.

“I didn’t mean to imply Living Single hadn’t existed or indeed hadn’t come before Friends, which I knew it had,” the actor wrote. “I was a fan of Living Single, and was not implying Friends was the first of its kind. To my knowledge, Friends was inspired by [series creators] Marta [Kaufmann] & David [Crane]’s own lives and circle of friends living in NY in their twenties. If it was based on Living Single you’d have to ask them.”

Schwimmer acknowledged that it is even possible that Warner Brothers and NBC had been encouraged by the success of Living Single and in turn decided to give the green light to the Friends pilot. He then thanked Living Single for paving the way for Friends.

In an interview with The Guardian, Schwimmer called Friends “groundbreaking” for the way it handled the intimate relationships of a group of New York City pals in their twenties and thirties. The actor also claimed that he “argued” for his character Ross Geller to date women of color in order to give the show a more diverse profile.

Living Single aired for five seasons on Fox, from 1993 to 1998. The sitcom centered on the lives of six Brooklyn friends living in a brownstone and it starred Alexander, Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Kim Fields, T.C. Carson, John Henton, and Dexter Knight.

Friends debuted on NBC in 1994 and ran for 10 seasons, until 2004. In addition to Schwimmer, Friends starred Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow.

Queen Latifah previously said Living Single inspired Friends. During an interview with late-night host James Corden, the actress noted that then-NBC president Warren Littlefield once said if he could have any show on television, it would be Living Single. Queen Latifah pointed out that Friends soon came along with the similar theme of six friends sharing apartments while living in the city.

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