Friends, NBC’s iconic sitcom that premiered in 1994 and spanned 10 seasons, has become a worldwide phenomenon that continues today. Fans are still buying the product and citing the lines and arguing over whether or not Ross and Rachel were on hiatus. So it didn’t overtake viewers when the contestants of the UK version of The hunt all of them shared names with the actors who played our famous coffee-drinking New Yorkers. The reason why, however, makes perfect sense.
On the UK version of The hunt, which was adapted in the United States in 2013 for four seasons on Game Show Network before relaunching on ABC in 2021, four strangers form a team to take on a professional quizmaster. The Sun reports that showrunners have been known to give team members names that somehow connect them. Eagle-eyed fans quickly spotted the motif in the January 3 episode, which starred Matt, Jennifer, Courtney and David:
I see the cast of ‘Friends’ is on The Chase. Let yourself go a little … 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Shk3I1jtdNJanuary 3, 2022
While viewers probably know now to pay attention to the fun connections, it’s still pretty impressive that Friends fans were able to choose this one, as the first names Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and David Schwimmer are quite common. The hunt also used the more traditional spelling of “Courtney”, which might have thrown a heavy blow Friends fan.
It’s not the first time either The hunt paid tribute to the sitcom, which graced its loyal British fan base in Season 4. In 1998, the production traveled to London to film the two-part finale, “The One with Ross’ Wedding,” in which Ross used Rachel’s name in her wedding vow instead of future bride Emily. In 2017, The hunt presented an episode of the game show with a team of contestants named Rachael, Ross, Phoebe and Joey. Maybe Monica and Chandler were spending some time in private, because London was the starting point of their relationship, after all.
Other famous British game show connections include a nod to the royal grandchildren, as a September 2021 episode starred Archie, Louis, Charlotte and George. In November, the show featured a few legendary singers with the crew of Prince, Tina, Elvis and Adele. The hunt got creative in December 2020, when he created a team of Ginger, Roger, Fred and Alistair, clearly a tribute to dancers Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
The American version of The hunt – which features teams of three rather than four – doesn’t seem to have followed suit with its creative team-naming tactics, which is a bit of a shame. I see, however, how a little weird it is to change your competition’s name to an Easter Egg. If you want to catch The hunt On this side of the Pond, the Season 2 winter premiere begins at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan.5 on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV show to see what’s coming back this month.