Warren Littlefield, NBC's former president of entertainment who's brought us small-screen gems like "Seinfeld," "Friends" and "Frasier," remembers taking a huge gamble on Jennifer Aniston and convincing Debra Messing to do “Will and Grace."
"[It's] 10:30 p.m. at night on Sunset Boulevard," Littlefield tells me on the set of "New York Live." "I’m at the Chevron station gassing up and Jennifer is over at the other island and she comes over and she says, ‘Is it ever going to happen?’ and I say, 'We believe in you, I love you, I so believe in your talent, I’m sure it will.' A few months later, we handed her the 'Friends' script."
But it wasn't quite so simple. Littlefield said that at the time, Aniston was under contract for a CBS series, "Muddling Through." But NBC went ahead with Aniston -- a move that could have "cost us millions of dollars to reshoot." Soon CBS yanked the flailing show, allowing Aniston to officially move forward with "Friends."
It’s not just Aniston’s career on which Warren had a direct impact. He recalls having to beg Debra Messing to take the role of Grace Adler on the hit "Will & Grace."
“We were on our knees," Littlefield remembers. "She was reluctant. She had just come off an hour-series called 'Pray.' She was tired. She was a little exhausted and we said, 'Debra read it.' And we wined her and dined her and begged her, and ultimately Debra said, 'How do I say no?'"
Warren believes that due to the prevalence of DVRs, one network dominating one night for one decade of must-see TV will never happen again, but thinks that if NBC can find its "Modern Family," the network could once again reign supreme.
Jennifer Lopez and boyfriend Casper Smart had a casual dinner at Madeo in West Hollywood on April 17.
Aubrey Plaza, Jason Ritter, Dade Constantine, and Kayla Dobson attended the "About Alex" premiere afterparty during the Tribeca Film Festival at Kutsher's Tribeca in NYC, April 17.
Pregnant singer Christina Aguilera and her fiance Matthew Rutler were photographed out and about in New York City on April 17.
Katie Holmes spotted out and about in New York City on April 17.
"Downton Abbey" actress Jessica Brown Findlay hopped on a train at Manchester Piccadilly Train Station after her interview on "BBC Breakfast" on April 17 in England.
Heather Graham visited NBC Studios for an appearance on "The Today Show" on April 17 in New York City.
Justin Bieber and his crew, including Lil Za, were spotted out for dinner at The Grove in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 16.
Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Mick Jagger, filmed a commercial for Rimmel London in London, England, on April 15.
Halle Berry filmed scenes for her TV series "Extant" in Century City, Calif. on April 15.
Lauren Conrad did some shopping in West Hollywood on April 15.
Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan posed during a photocall for their film "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" prior to the German premiere of the film in Berlin on April 15.
Kim Kardashian and her fiance Kanye West walked hand-in-hand as they went shopping in Givenchy, Balmain and Lanvin on April 14 in Paris, France.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum joked around backstage at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 13.
Lupita Nyong'o arrived at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 13.
Taylor Swift and a friend were spotted out and about in New York City on April 12.
Jessica Biel was all smiles as she headed out for an espresso in New York City on April 12.
Leonardo DiCaprio stopped by the McDonald’s® and Stingray Desert Coachella Pool Party at the Bootsy Bellows Estate on April 12 to celebrate the launch of McDonald’s® Bacon Clubhouse Burger™ and the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
Julianne Hough looked Coachella cool at The Old Navy Oasis in Indio, Calif.m on April 12.
Selena Gomez and Kendall and Kylie Jenner at the first weekend of The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 11.
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield visited BBC Radio 1 in London on April 9 to promote their new film, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
Pregnant Kristin Cavallari was spotted running in West Hollywood on April 9.
Danica McKellar left "Dancing with the Stars" practice in Hollywood on April 8.
Julianne Moore was pretty in white while out in NYC April 8.
Anne Hathaway wrapped herself up in a giant coat while out in NYC on April 8.
Lady Gaga struck her usual unique pose outside the Roseland Ballroom on April 7.
British socialite <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/peaches-geldof-dead_n_5105968.html" target="_blank">Peaches Geldof died</a> of an "unexplained and sudden" cause on April 7. She was 25.
"Dancing with the Stars" star Derek Hough took a break from rehearsal on April 7 to snack on the new Ritz crackers.
Jamie Lynn Sigler was spotted purchasing a Rembrandt whitening kit at Target in New York on April 7.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Carrie Underwood at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Taylor Swift at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Cameron Diaz made an appearance on "Wetten, dass..???" TV show on April 5 in Offenburg, Germany.
Heidi Klum attended the "America's Got Talent" red carpet event at Madison Square Garden on April 4 in New York City.
Nicole Richie attended Lucky FABB: Fashion and Beauty Blog Conference at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on April 4.
Shakira and Usher attended NBC's "The Voice" red carpet event at The Sayers Club in Hollywood on April 3.
Dianna Agron was spotted out and about West Hollywood on April 3.
Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Pare, Elisabeth Moss, Jon Hamm, January Jones and Christina Hendricks attended the "Mad Men" season 7 premiere at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood on April 2.
Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann attended the U.K. premiere of their movie "The Other Woman" on April 2 in London.
Lady Gaga arrived at the "Late Show with David Letterman" taping in NYC April 2.
Heidi Klum joined Dr. Scholl’s to announce the DreamWalk line of insoles to help women everywhere bring their uncomfortable shoes out of the “shoe closet" in New York on April 2.
Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe posed together before the screening of their new film "Noah" in Paris on April 1.
Comedienne Amy Schumer promoted her "Finger Blaster" sketch from season 2 of the Comedy Central hit "Inside Amy Schumer" in NYC, April 1.
Naomi Watts left the gym with a friend after a morning workout on April 1 in Brentwood, Calif.
Hulk Hogan attended the WrestleMania 30 press conference at the Hard Rock Cafe New York on April 1.
Sebastian Stan and Chris Evans posed with Captain America during The NYSE Opening Bell at New York Stock Exchange on April 1.
Cobie Smulders attended The Cinema Society & Gucci Guilty screening of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel in NYC, March 31.
Emma Watson wowed at the UK Premiere of "Noah" at Odeon Leicester Square on March 31 in London.
Naomi Watts went for a morning jog with a friend in Brentwood, Calif., on March 31.
Johnny Depp attended the "Transcendence" press conference at Grand Hyatt Hotel on March 31 in Beijing, China.
Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet attended the European Premiere of "Divergent" at Odeon Leicester Square on March 30 in London.