After much speculation, the entire cast of “Friends” – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer – will all return for an unscripted cast reunion special. The show will be film from the comedy’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank for a celebration of the show. The unscripted cast reunion special, along with all 236 episodes of the series, will be available to subscribers at the launch of HBO Max.
“Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together — we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire Friends library,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president, TBS, TNT, and truTV.
“I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends – and audiences – gathered together in real time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans.”
The road to a “Friends” reunion special has been a bumpy one, but now it seems the full cast, along with Warner Bros. TV, have finally found a middle ground that they’re happy with. Budget for the reunion special is reported to be in the $20 million range, with each cast member getting between $3 million to $4 million for appearing in the special.
The “Friends” reunion is expected to lure viewers to HBO Max, since the original show was a hit on Netflix. Last July, WarnerMedia announced “Friends” would leave Netflix come January 2020 and the company reportedly shelled out $425 million for rights to the sitcom.
HBO Max launches in May 2020 and will be $14.99 per month. Those with HBO Now or those who get HBO through AT&T or DirecTV will automatically get HBO Max at no extra charge.
HBO Max will also be the exclusive streaming home for all episodes of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as well as “Pretty Little Liars.” Those shows will join The CW originals starting with “Batwoman” and “Riverdale” spinoff “Katy Keene.” The CW’s streaming deal with Netflix expired in May. Current CW series already streaming on Netflix (like “Riverdale” and “The Flash”) will continue to do so until they wrap their runs.