In the summer of 1995, after the first season of “Friends” followed the show “Mad About You,” NBC decided to give the series a new time slot. Lisa Kudrow toldthat although her show’s first season ratings were fine, it wasn’t until the pairing up with “Seinfeld” on the schedule that the numbers really took off. For this very reason, for the sudden success of “Friends” was no mystery to Jerry Seinfeld, who offered up his thoughts to Kudrow at a party.
In her interview, Kudrow, who played Phoebe (and her twin), recalled that, to her, there was no mystery surrounding the ratings boost. “We held on to enough of ‘Mad About You’ and starting building, but it was in the summer when we were in reruns after ‘Seinfeld,’ where ‘Seinfeld’ was our lead-in, where we exploded.” Talking about her run-in with Jerry, she looked back and said, “I remember going to some party and Jerry Seinfeld was there. He said, ‘You’re welcome.’ I said, ‘Why, thank you … what?’ And he said, ‘You’re on after us in the summer, and you’re welcome.'”
Of course, Seinfeld was right, as his hit series was then heading into its sixth season. Any show being led in by “Seinfeld,” even reruns, was almost guaranteed to pull in more viewers and success. And although there are plenty of actors who would have taken offense to being told why their show was blowing up, Kudrow had no reason to disagree. She modestly replied back, “that’s exactly right. Thank you.” And with the rise of “Friends” shortly after, eventually giving us endless syndicated episodes of perpetual reruns, fans should thank Jerry as well.