90 Facts About Top TV Shows That Will Blow Your Mind

Life. Changed.

1. Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz in Frasier, but the casting directors changed their minds and fired her shortly before it aired — which led her to land the role of Phoebe in Friends. YAY.

2. But before Lisa landed the part, Ellen DeGeneres was offered Phoebe, although she turned it down.

3. We may now know it forever in our hearts as Friends, but it was almost called Insomnia Café, Friends Like Us, Across the Hall, Once Upon a Time in the West Village or Six of One.

4. Courteney Cox was originally cast as Rachel but she insisted she should be Monica, while Two and a Half Men’s Jon Cryer was offered Chandler’s role.

5. Another Friends fact: Marcel the monkey is actually a female and her name is Katie.

6. Phoebe and Chandler were originally supposed to be supporting characters, not part of the main six.

7. And Monica and Joey were originally supposed to be the main romance story in the show.

8. R.E.M’s “Shiny Happy People” was used in the pilot and was meant to be the theme tune of the show, not the now beloved “I’ll Be There for You” (which was was co-written by Friends producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman).

9. In the first couple of episodes, Monica and Rachel’s apartment number was number 5. This was changed in later episodes to number 20 because the producers noted that 5 corresponded to an apartment on a lower floor. Joey and Chandler’s was changed to number 19 in turn.

10. Gunther was not originally a speaking part — the actor, James Michael Tyler, bagged the role as an extra because he worked in a coffee shop and knew how to work an espresso machine.

11. During the first season of the show, each cast member earned $22,500 per episode. By the end of the series they each made a $1 million an episode.

12. Moving away from Friends — in The O.C, the Cohens were originally called “The Needlemans.”

13. Chad Michael Murray was reportedly offered a part in The O.C., but turned it down for One Tree Hill.

14. Rachel Bilson was originally only a guest star, but the role of Summer Roberts became so important that they made her a main character.

15. Adam Brody is afraid of boats, and he used a stunt double for the sailing scenes.

16. And Shailene Woodley played the young Kaitlin Cooper.

17. Olivia Wilde was almost cast as Marissa Cooper in The O.C., but it went to Mischa Barton because Olivia was “too strong.”

18. And Adam Brody almost didn’t play Seth Cohen, because when he auditioned, producer Josh Schwartz hated him. They eventually called him back.

19. Ever wonder why you never saw Sarah Jessica Parker naked in Sex and the City? She was the only one with a clause in her contract saying no nudity on screen.

20. And while we’re talking about SATC, Kim Cattrall turned down the role of Samantha twice. And it was a case of third time lucky when she was finally convinced to sign up.

21. There is a mistake in the opening credits. When you watch the intro to the show you’ll notice there are passengers in the bus as Carrie’s being splashed — but in the next scene the bus is completely empty.

22. And by the way — Cynthia Nixon doesn’t have pierced ears despite Miranda’s love for earrings. She would wear clip-ons.

23. She is also a natural blonde and dyed her hair red to look like Miranda when she landed the role.

24. Filming of the very last SATC episode was left to the last minute — shooting finished just four days before it was scheduled to air.

25. Up until the 12th episode of the fourth season, Sarah Jessica Parker’s name was shown with the World Trade Center towers behind it. Following the 9/11 tragedy, her name appeared with the Empire State Building in the background instead.

26. In Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman was originally supposed to die at the end of Season 1, but Vince Gilligan picked up on the chemistry between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul and rewrote the plot. No pun intended.

27. All the blue meth is actually blue-hued rock candy.

28. The cult show was originally set in Riverside, California, but was moved for tax rebate purposes.

29. Walter’s flustered pizza toss in Season 3 was actually a complete fluke and was done in just one take.

30. Moving on… Every “yo” and “bitch” was in the script. According to actor Matt Jones, a typical shoot is 99% scripted and 1% improvisation.

31. Walter, meanwhile, takes on some of the characteristics of people he has killed. Examples include cutting the crusts off his sandwiches (Crazy 8), drinking whiskey on the rocks (Mike) and driving a Volvo (Gus Fring).

32. Several Breaking Bad cast members guest starred in episodes of Seinfeld: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Bob Odenkirk.

33. Back to recasting facts: Matthew McConaughey was originally offered the role of Marty in True Detective, finally played by Woody Harrelson, but he asked to be Cohle after reading the script and wanting a challenge.

34. Meanwhile, Heather Locklear, Courteney Cox, Calista Flockhart, and Mary-Louise Parker were considered for Teri Hatcher’s role of Susan Mayer in Desperate Housewives.

35. Dana Delany turned down the role of Bree Van de Kamp three times. But she later joined the series in the fourth season as Katherine Mayfair, who was somewhat of a Bree clone.

36. And things could have been completely different, as Nicollette Sheridan originally auditioned for Bree but was cast as Edie Britt instead.

37. Alex Kingston, meanwhile, auditioned for the role of Lynette, but was turned down for being “too curvy”.

38. Desperate Housewives was originally written as a half-hour comedy, but Marc Cherry’s talent agent suggested turning it into a soap opera.

39. ABC wanted to call it Wisteria Lane or The Secret Lives of Housewives instead to avoid criticism. Cherry refused.

40. The Desperate Housewives set was previously used in Kelly Rowland and Nelly’s video for “Dilemma”.

41. Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys in Game of Thrones, voiced Dr. Zoidberg’s girlfriend in the final episodes of Futurama.

42. But she almost didn’t play the Mother of Dragons. It was originally played by Tamzin Merchant, and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) was originally played by Jennifer Ehle in the pilot before they were recast.

43. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) is a very strict vegetarian, and every time you see him eating meat on screen, he’s actually eating tofu.

44. To make their reactions as genuine as possible, the majority of the cast have not read the Game of Thrones books.

45. The epic series was supposed to be a movie, but George R.R. Martin didn’t want his story to be cut down so drastically.

46. Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy, is the brother to singer Lily Allen.

47. After the direwolf named Lady had completed her work, she was actually adopted by Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa.

48. The guy who plays Grand Maester Pycelle, Julian Glover, played these two familiar faces in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

HBO, Fox, Paramount Pictures

49. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) and Lena Headey (Cersei) were friends before the show began, and Dinklage even helped get Headey the part of his feuding sister on the show.

50. This is what The Hound looks like without a beard and scarring:

51. And the actor who played Robert Baratheon, Mark Addy? He’s the fat guy in The Full Monty.

52. More image overhauls: Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa Stark, is a natural blonde. She dyes her hair for the show.

53. While Emilia Clarke does not dye her hair blond. She wears a wig instead.

54. On the subject of hair — Saved by the Bell star Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s hair wasn’t naturally blond either, so he had to dye it every two weeks during filming.

55. Scott Wolf, who became a huge star on Party of Five, appeared in the background on numerous Saved by the Bell episodes.

56. Elizabeth Berkley originally auditioned for the role of Kelly Kapowski, which she didn’t get. The producers later decided that they liked her so much they would create a role for her, so Jessie Spano was born.

57. Lisa Turtle was originally supposed to be a spoiled Jewish girl from Long Island. The producers liked Lark Voorhies so much they changed the part so she could play it. Phew.

58. Zack and Slater were actually supposed to be rivals and fight for Kelly’s love and attention. But Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez had such great chemistry off screen the writers decided they should be BFFs instead of rivals later on in the show.

59. One Tree Hill was named after a U2 song of the same name, which is about a landmark in New Zealand.

60. The show was originally intended to be a feature-length film called Ravens.

61. Chad Michael Murray was the first person cast for the series, but the creator originally wanted him to play Nathan. James Lafferty took over the role later, however, because he excelled at basketball.

62. And because Chad had never played basketball before the show, they had to hire a basketball coach for him.

63. The gym where the Ravens played basketball is the same gym where Michael Jordan played high school basketball.

64. Sticking with One Tree Hill, Lucas got the tattoo of a Chinese symbol on his arm to cover up the tattoo Chad Michael Murray has of his initials in real life.

65. George Clooney begged to have an audition for E.R.

66. Selma Blair and Katie Holmes were in the running to play Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That was until Sarah Michelle Gellar won the part.

67. Gellar originally auditioned to play Cordelia, but producers thought she’d be a better Buffy. She was also up for the part of Sabrina Spellman in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch at the same time but turned it down to slay vampires.

68. On the set of Angel and Buffy, David Boreanaz had a habit of pulling down his pants between takes, to see if the other actors in the scene could keep a straight face and not break character.

Columbia TriStar Television

69. Nearly 500 actors tried out for the part of Dawson on Dawson’s Creek.

70. And James Van Der Beek almost did not get the part either, but the show’s creator, Kevin Williamson, fought for him.

71. Halfway through the series, the iconic pier outside the Leery home was destroyed in a hurricane. But they managed to rebuild it.

72. Andie, who was supposed to be 16 in the show, was actually played by actress Meredith Monroe — who was 29 at the time.

Sony Pictures Television

73. Michael Keaton was originally cast to play Jack in Lost.

74. …who was also supposed to die in the first episode. When Jack was made a regular character, Keaton turned it down and Matthew Fox was called in.

75. Evangeline Lilly almost missed out on the role of Kate Austen as well. Due to her Canadian citizenship she had huge visa issues and was very nearly recast, only just turning up in time for filming.

76. Parts of the plane wreckage were turned into instruments that can be heard in the soundtrack.

77. As of the premiere of the third season of Girls, the first episode of every season has opened with a shot of Hannah lying in bed with another character.

78. The four main characters’ names are all alliterative (Hannah Horvath, Marnie Michaels, Shoshanna Shapiro, and Jessa Johansson).

79. And Allison Williams almost didn’t play Marnie — Lena Dunham wanted her real-life best friend Audrey Gelman for the role, but she turned it down to pursue politics.

80. Gillian Anderson wasn’t what producers had in mind for Scully in The X-Files. Fox originally wanted a “taller, leggier, blonder, and breastier” actress to play the infamous role.

81. The beloved opening-theme tune for the series was created almost by accident, after composer Mark Snow rested his elbow on the keyboard with the “echo” function on and they decided they liked the creep vibe and kept it.

82. Gillian Anderson is so small she spent most of her time filming the series while standing on a box — she’s just a little over 5 feet tall — and a full 10 inches shorter than David Duchovny.

83. The actress also loosely based her matter-of-fact FBI character on Jodie Foster’s performance in The Silence of the Lambs.

84. Will & Grace could have had completely different actors — John Barrowman almost played Will, and Alexis Arquette almost played Jack. Nicollette Sheridan and Yasmine Bleeth also both auditioned to play Grace.

85. Jack and Karen are known for being best friends in the show, but the original plan was for them to be very separate. Until Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes showed what chemistry they had on screen together.

86. Back to recastings — Jerry O’Connell was originally lined up to play Bailey Salinger in Party of Five. But he quit the role just before the pilot was filmed.

87. The role of Sarah, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, was only meant to be a nine-episode character but the producers and viewers liked her performance so much she was made a regular.

88. We have Will Smith’s bad money management to thank for him playing the Fresh Prince. He was a hard-up rapper and only took the role because he was in serious debt. For the first three years of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the IRS was taking 70% of every cheque he made.

89. Alfonso Ribeiro stole his signature Carlton dance from two other celebrities — Courteney Cox and Eddie Murphy. According to Ribeiro, his moves were a mash-up of those displayed by Murphy during his famous “white man dancing” routine and the boogying done by Courteney Cox on the Bruce Springsteen music video for “Dancing in the Dark.”

90. And finally, the taxi driver in the opening credits of Fresh Prince is none other than…QUINCY JONES! (Jones also served as the show’s executive producer and made three cameos as himself between 1990–94.) Who knew?

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