The Chinese Friends Spinoff That Almost Was

As the technical coordinator on Friends from 2000 to 2004, Roger Christiansen also got the chance to direct a couple of episodes – one about Joey messing up a Monica-Chandler adoption-recommendation letter and another involving a Joey-Phoebe double date.

But it is several years later in China that Christiansen nearly made an even bigger Friends mark. The show remains hugely popular there and according to an interview on china.org.cn, a Chinese-language spinoff was extensively developed:

From 2008-2010, Christiansen worked with a Shanghai-based team writing original scripts for a Friends-inspired sitcom that would focus on the lives of a group of expatriate professionals in China and their Chinese friends. Although the project was ultimately shelved because of differences between the writers and production team, Christiansen said he remains open to re-imagining the hit series for Chinese television, albeit with several caveats.

Does Warner Bros. know about this? We’re pretty sure they would like to be centrally involved in any re-imagining. Christiansen will begin teaching this fall at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts (SIVA) at Fudan and is scheduled to speak there May 24 about his years working on Friends.

[Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Television]