How to counter-program the final installment of NBC's long-running sitcom ''Friends''? TV Land isn't even going to try.

The cable network said Monday that it will essentially go dark for the hour when the conclusion of ''Friends'' airs on May 6, showing footage of TV Land staffers sitting around the office supposedly watching NBC.

But for the three hours before and after that broadcast, the nostalgia channel will show ''Before They Were 'Friends,' '' six programs featuring the cast members in earlier days: ''Cheers'' (with Lisa Kudrow), ''Family Ties'' (Courteney Cox), ''Ferris Bueller'' (Jennifer Aniston), ''The Wonder Years'' (David Schwimmer), ''Just the 10 of Us'' (Matt LeBlanc) and ''Who's the Boss?'' (Matthew Perry).

''The end of 'Friends' is the end of an era in television history,'' TV Land president Larry W. Jones says in a statement. '' 'Friends' has proven itself to be a modern classic, and TV Land wants to be sure no viewers accidentally miss this historic event.'' (LAT)