From Breaking Bad’s original title being “Chemistry” to The Simpsons holding the Guinness World Record for most guest stars in a TV show, popular TV shows have surprising facts that most viewers might not know. Friends almost had the title “Insomnia Cafe” before becoming the beloved sitcom it is today, while The Office (US) was an adaptation of the British series of the same name created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The Walking Dead’s ratings surpassed the Olympics, Grey’s Anatomy’s elevator scenes have a special meaning, and Game of Thrones has the most Emmy wins for a scripted series. The X-Files was almost called “UFO: Unexplained Phenomenon,” while Seinfeld’s finale aired on the same night as Cheers’ finale.
10 Surprising Facts About Popular TV Shows
1. Breaking Bad’s original title was “Chemistry”
Before Breaking Bad became a household name, the show’s original title was “Chemistry.” The series creator, Vince Gilligan, explained that he wanted the show to be about the transformations that occur in chemistry, but later changed it to Breaking Bad to represent the protagonist’s morally ambiguous transformation into a drug lord.
2. Friends was almost called “Insomnia Cafe”
The iconic sitcom almost had a very different title before it debuted as Friends. Co-creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman originally called it “Insomnia Cafe” because they felt the characters were at a point in their lives where they were always up late talking and worrying about their futures.
3. The Office (US) was based on a British show
The well-known mockumentary about office life in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was actually an adaptation of a British series of the same name created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. After its success in the UK, it was picked up by NBC in the US and produced for nine seasons.
4. The Big Bang Theory’s theme song has lyrics
While most fans might know the famous intro song to The Big Bang Theory as an instrumental track, it actually has lyrics. The song, titled “The History of Everything,” was written by the show’s composer, Barenaked Ladies, and tells the story of the universe from the Big Bang to the present day.
5. The Walking Dead’s ratings surpassed the Olympics
In 2015, the season five premiere of The Walking Dead drew in 17.3 million viewers, beating the ratings for NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics that same year. This made it one of the most-watched episodes in cable television history.
6. Grey’s Anatomy’s elevator scenes have a special meaning
Viewers of Grey’s Anatomy might have noticed that some of the show’s most dramatic moments happen in hospital elevators. The show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, revealed that the reason behind this is because elevators serve as a metaphor for the characters’ journeys throughout the series, as they often represent moving up or down in their personal lives and careers.
7. Game of Thrones has the most Emmy wins for a scripted series
The iconic fantasy series Game of Thrones broke records at the 2019 Emmy Awards, winning 12 awards in total, including its fourth win for Outstanding Drama Series. This made it the most-awarded scripted show in Emmy history, with a total of 59 awards since its debut in 2011.
8. The X-Files was almost called “UFO: Unexplained Phenomenon”
When Chris Carter first pitched the idea for The X-Files, he originally called it “UFO: Unexplained Phenomenon.” However, he later changed it to The X-Files, which refers to the show’s main plot device of an FBI unit investigating “X-files,” or unexplained cases.
9. The Simpsons holds the Guinness World Record for most guest stars in a TV show
The long-running animated series, The Simpsons, has featured an impressive 821 guest stars throughout its 32 seasons. This includes everyone from Michael Jackson to Paul McCartney to Stephen Hawking. As a result, the show holds the Guinness World Record title for most guest stars in a TV show.
10. Seinfeld’s finale aired on the same night as the Cheers finale
Two of the most iconic sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld and Cheers, both aired their final episodes on May 14, 1998. While Cheers ended its run after 11 seasons with a finale that was watched by over 80 million viewers, Seinfeld’s finale was met with mixed reviews from fans and critics alike.