The one where UK game show contestants share names with actor friends (and why it makes perfect sense)

Friends, the iconic NBC sitcom that premiered in 1994 and ran for 10 seasons, became a worldwide phenomenon that continues today. Fans are still buying the product, quoting the lines, and arguing over whether Ross and Rachel were on hiatus or not. It therefore did not overtake viewers when competitors of the UK version of The hunt all 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 the Game Show Network before being revived on ABC in 2021, four strangers form a team to take on a professional quiz master. The Sun reports that showrunners have been known to give team members names that connect them in some way. Eagle-eyed fans quickly spotted the outline for the January 3 episode, which featured Matt, Jennifer, Courtney, and David:

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While viewers probably know by now to be careful with fun connections, it’s still pretty impressive that Friends fans might have chosen this one, since Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and David Schwimmer’s first names are pretty common. The hunt also used the more traditional spelling of “Courtney”, which could still have thrown a hard Friends fan.

It’s also not the first time The hunt paid tribute to the sitcom, which honored 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 said Rachel’s name during his famous wedding vows instead of future wife Emily. In 2017, The hunt featured an episode of the game show with a team of contestants named Rachael, Ross, Phoebe, and Joey. Maybe Monica and Chandler had gone off to hang out privately, because London was where their relationship started, after all.

Other famous connections from the British game show include a nod to royal grandchildren, as a September 2021 episode featured Archie, Louis, Charlotte and George. In November, the show honored legendary singers with the cast 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 his creative team-naming tactic, which is a bit of a shame. I see, however, how a bit strange it is to change the name of your competitors for an Easter egg. If you want to catch The hunt 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 schedule to see what’s coming back this month.

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