Former NBC president Warren Littlefield revealed how Matthew Perry once saved the network during its disastrous 1996 upfronts.
The beloved actor, who was propelled to global stardom after landing the role of funnyman Chandler Bing within the hit sitcom “Friends,” used his quick wit and charm to woo a room of execs when things derailed during a presentation.
“As a result of an electrical failure, the presentation stopped,” Littlefield recalled in an article for Variety Wednesday. “Eventually, we learned that a curling iron overheated and short-circuited most of our power.”
“I panicked. But then, with that unbelievably great smile accompanied by his then quite famous wit and charm, out walked Matthew from backstage and proceeded to entertain the audience,” he added.
Littlefield, who gave “Friends” the go-ahead during his stint as NBC president from 1991 to 1998, said that Perry subtly “winked” at him as to say, “I’ve got this boss.”
“Forget our latest fall programs, that was essentially the most memorably entertaining a part of the presentation,” he said of Perry, who was there to advertise the second season of “Friends.”
“Nobody asked Matthew to do this job — he just saw what was unfolding and jumped in. That was Matthew.”
Elsewhere, Littlefield said there was initial interest for Perry’s close pal Craig Bierko to be forged as Bing within the hit sitcom, so naturally — being the nice guy that he was — Perry stepped aside and didn’t throw his hat within the ring.
“Matthew stayed within the background because he didn’t need to compete along with his friend,” Littlefield wrote. “Who says show business must be cut throat?”
The previous exec said that his “prayers were answered” the moment Perry auditioned for the role.
The late actor proved “just how gifted he was comedically,” Littlefield said, adding that the team of writers, producers, and directors “at all times benefited” from Perry’s “contributions and instincts.”
Prior to his tragic death aged 54, Perry struggled with alcohol and drug abuse before finally becoming clean and sober in 2021.
Littlefield said it became “clear” quite “early on” that Perry “needed help,” before he checked into rehab for the primary time in 1997.
“There have been many programs to select from, but Matthew selected a very tough program in a distant city, one which didn’t cater to being wealthy or famous,” the previous exec revealed.
“The alternative was surprising, but he believed putting within the labor was what he needed.”
Perry died Saturday of an apparent drowning incident at his California home.
Initial tests showed that he didn’t have fentanyl or meth in his system on the time of his death.
More in-depth tests are currently being conducted as a part of the toxicology, which may take months to ascertain an official explanation for death.