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 in the hit sitcom “Friends,” used his quick wit and charm to woo a room of execs when things derailed during a presentation.
“Due to 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 new fall programs, that was the most memorably entertaining part of the presentation,” he said of Perry, who was there to promote the second season of “Friends.”
“No one asked Matthew to do that 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 cast as Bing in the hit sitcom, so naturally — being the good guy that he was — Perry stepped aside and didn’t throw his hat in the ring.
“Matthew stayed in the background because he didn’t want to compete with his friend,” Littlefield wrote. “Who says show business has to be cut throat?”
The former 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 “always 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 first time in 1997.
“There were many programs to choose from, but Matthew chose a particularly tough program in a distant city, one that didn’t cater to being rich or famous,” the former exec revealed.
“The choice was surprising, but he believed putting in the hard work was what he needed.”
Initial tests showed that he did not have fentanyl or meth in his system at the time of his death.
More in-depth tests are currently being conducted as part of the toxicology, which can take months to establish an official cause of death.
This story originally appeared on NY Post