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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 14:04 GMT
Friend Rachel to survive childbirth
Jennifer Aniston
Rachel is played by Jennifer Aniston
The makers of the hit US sitcom Friends have hit back at press reports saying one of its key characters, Rachel, will die in childbirth.

Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane denied the claims, which appeared in US tabloids.

But they hinted that the pregnant Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston, could face a very lengthy labour.

Earlier this month, programme-makers Warner Bros announced that Friends would return for a ninth and final series rather than ending with the current run, as had been planned.

Actresses Courtney Cox Arquette, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow
Friends' female stars are famed worldwide
The statement followed a deal between cast members and Warners, under which the actors would be paid a reported $1m (700,000) apiece for each of the final 24 episodes.

Bright, Kauffman and Crane told a teleconference with reporters that the last show of the current series had yet to be written.

But they said they did have some ideas for the birth, which would occur in the final show.

"This year we know Rachel is going to have a baby," Bright said. "And she's not dying in childbirth," added Kauffman.

"At the moment, we've been talking about the idea that it might be the longest labour in the history of the hospital," Bright said.


We're still trying to figure out the end of this season

Marta Kauffman

"Other than that, we're still weighing some options."

Kauffman denied claims that, with the pregnancy storyline, the comedy was straying on to territory more proper to a soap opera.

"I don't think suds is what we're going for," he said.

The show's creators said it was far too early to decide what might happen when Friends really does take its final bow.

Kauffman said: "My guess is that the series finale will be an hour.

"We don't have specific plans at the moment. We're still trying to figure out the end of this season."

See also:

12 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Friends reunite for final series
04 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Friends bid for '$1m' episodes
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Channel 4's 100m Friends deal
20 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Friends stay together - Schwimmer
21 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Friends in the money
11 Nov 98 | Entertainment
$1m Christmas bonus for Friends
09 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Aniston sues over topless photos
30 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Brad and Jennifer tie the knot
30 Jul 00 | Entertainment
In pictures: Jennifer and Brad's wedding
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