Jennifer Aniston Reveals: She Chose ‘Friends’ over ‘SNL’

by | February 2, 2011 at 6:17 PM | Oprah, Oprah Winfrey, TV News

The Oprah Winfrey Show (HARPO)

The Oprah Winfrey Show (HARPO)

We should all have this kind of choice: Back when Jennifer Aniston was mulling over an offer to join the cast of a new sitcom called “Friends,” Lorne Michaels was also inviting her to join “Saturday Night Live.”

Adam Sandler, who was then on “SNL,” told the story on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Wednesday when he appeared with Aniston, his co-star in the upcoming romantic comedy “Just Go With It” (in theaters Feb. 11). Sandler said he was there, at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, when he saw Aniston enter Michaels’ office for a meeting.

He said that, at the time (probably some time in 1994, though he didn’t specify the year), he and other cast members were intrigued by the possibility of working with Aniston, who had already appeared on several TV series (“Burke’s Law,” “Herman’s Head,” “Ferris Bueller”). But later they heard she’d turned Lorne down, opting instead to stake her future on this new NBC sitcom. On “Oprah,” Jen confirmed the story was true.

Aniston and Sandler were just two of several high-profile guests on Wednesday’s “Oprah.” Oprah also interviewed (via satellite from L.A.) the three judges from “American Idol”Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. And, later in her Chicago studio, she chatted with Piers Morgan, the recently installed CNN talk-show host whose first guest last month happened to be Oprah.

‘American Idol’ Breaks Out the Hankies

The “Idol” judges defended the show’s decision to bring the brain-damaged fiancée of “Idol” hopeful Chris Medina on to the show last month, during the episode that featured auditions from Milwaukee. After the episode aired, “Idol” was criticized by some for appearing to exploit the young woman’s tragic story for the sake of ratings. “All of us were, like, so moved,” said Jackson, who called it “a great story for America.”

As for Piers, he and Oprah had a friendly chat that focused mainly on the last chat they had, on the inaugural episode of “Piers Morgan Tonight” on Jan. 17. It was only a week after that interview that Oprah revealed the blockbuster “family secret” that she had a long-lost half-sister. Piers joked about her not letting him in on the secret during their interview just a few days before Oprah revealed it to the world, but you could tell he felt blind-sided, at least a little.

Oprah good-naturedly defended herself, saying it was up to him to ask her about a half-sister, even though there was no way he could have been tipped to the half-sister story before Oprah revealed it herself seven days later. She told Piers Wednesday, “I’m not going to say to you [during the CNN interview], ‘Piers, ask me about my half-sister!’ ”