Interview: Author ‘Saul Austerlitz’ Talks His New Book Generation Friends: An Inside Look At The Show That Defined A Television Era

Saul Austerlitz is a freelance writer whose work has been published in theNew York Times, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Slate, and The New Republic, among others.

He is an adjunct professor of writing and comedy history at New York University, as well as the author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes (Continuum, 2007), Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy (Chicago Review Press, 2010), Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community (Chicago Review Press, 2014), Just a Shot Away: Peace, Love, and Tragedy with the Rolling Stones at Altamont (Thomas Dunne Books, 2018), and the forthcoming Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era (Dutton, September 2019). Booklist named Another Fine Mess one of the ten best arts books of 2010, and Just a Shot Away received rave reviews, including from the New York Times Book Review, which called it “the most blisteringly impassioned music book of the season.”

Austerlitz grew up in Los Angeles and is a graduate of Yale University (B.A. in film studies, 2001) and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (M.A. in cinema studies, 2003). He lives with his wife and children in Brooklyn.

Check out his website here and Twitter. The book is in stores on Tuesday, September 17th from Dutton.

In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering about sex, relationships, jobs, and just about everything else. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, and thanks to the show’s immensely talented creators, its intimate understanding of its youthful audience, and its reign during network television’s last moment of dominance, Friends has become the most influential and beloved show of its era. Friends has never gone on a break, and this is the story of how it all happened.

Noted pop culture historian Saul Austerlitz utilizes exclusive interviews with creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, executive producer Kevin Bright, director James Burrows, and many other producers, writers, and cast members to tell the story of Friends’ creation, its remarkable decade-long run, and its astonishing Netflix-fueled afterlife. Readers will go behind the scenes to hear from the people who were present as the show was developed and cast, written and filmed. There will be talk of trivia contests, prom videos, trips to London, Super Bowls, lesbian weddings, wildly popular hairstyles, superstar cameos, mad dashes to the airport, and million-dollar contracts. They’ll also discover surprising details—that Monica and Joey were the show’s original romantic couple, how Danielle Steel probably saved Jennifer Aniston’s career, and why Friends is still so popular that if it was a new show, its over-the-air broadcast reruns would be the ninth-highest-rated program on TV.

The show that defined the 1990s has a legacy that has endured beyond wildest expectations. And in this hilarious, informative, and entertaining book, readers will now understand why.

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