‘Friends’ Star David Schwimmer Nixed a Script On His New Show Because Ross Already Did It

David Schwimmer is back. No, the Friends reunion hasn’t filmed yet, but Schwimmer is in a new show streaming on Peacock. Intelligence stars Schwimmer as an American NSA agent abroad in the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters. Nick Mohammed created the show and plays a GCHQ analyst. 

David Schwimmer and Courteney Cox | NBCU Photo Bank

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Schwimmer and Mohammed appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show via Zoom to promote Intelligence. Clarkson of course asked how much they talk about Friends, so Schwimmer shared one plot he had to veto because he’d already done it as Ross. 

‘Friends’ is a tough act to follow for any show, let alone one starring David Schwimmer

Mohammed was very conscious of avoiding Schwimmer’s hit sitcom. That was easier said than done when the classic NBC sitcom made over 230 episodes.

“This is the problem,” Mohammed told Clarkson. “It’s such a successful show, it’s such an iconic show, when you’re writing, trying to break story and do B plots and so on, you suddenly realize Friends had done pretty much everything.”

That even extends to promotional ideas. Everyone remembers Schwimmer and the gang playing in the fountain or sipping milkshakes out of straws. Mohammed had to avoid the NBC comedy’s footprint outside the episodes themselves too.

Friends: David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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“I remember there was even a marketing idea, I remember pitching it to you, not so much drinking the stuff out of the straws, the iconic Friends [shot],” Mohammed said to Schwimmer. “I remember pitchikng a marketing idea to you and I think you said, ‘Oh, we did it on Friends.’”

‘Intelligence’ will not have a repeat of ‘Friends’ spray tan episode

In the episode “The One with Ross’s Tan,” Ross goes to a tanning salon and tries spray tan. However, he gets confused and turns around at the wrong time, so only tans on one side. While his Intelligence character is the type to go for spray tan, Schwimmer nixed that idea before Mohammed could even write the script.

David Schwimmer and Nick Mohammed
L-R: Nick Mohammed and David Schwimmer | Karwai Tang/WireImage

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“We had a meeting this year on breaking stories for the second season which we’re hopefully going to shoot this fall,” Schwimmer told Clarkson. “Nick was talking about pitching a story in which my character got a fake tan. I just said, ‘Yeah, dude. We can’t do that.’”

David Schwimmer brought the show up before

Schwimmer and Mohammed are friends in real life. They had developed other projects together before Intelligence. Mohammed remembered one in which Schwimmer did play the Friends card.

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David mentioned it first. We were doing an improv thing with Julia Davis for a show that never happened. David had come over and we were doing some improv stuff together. I remember, you in character said, you left your phone with us and yuo in character said, ‘I don’t want you checking my phone. I’ve got Jennifer Aniston’s number on that phone.’ You said it in character and literally me and Julia almost fell off our seats. Other than that, I don’t think we spoke about it. 

Nick Mohammed, The Kelly Clarkson Show, 7/14/2020