Two weeks after reports circulated a deal was close to being finalized, HBO Max confirmed the cast and creators of Friends will be reuniting for a one-off special. The reunion will be available along with the show's entire library when WarnerMedia's streaming service debuts some time in May.
Set to be filmed on the original series' Stage 24 of the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, the special will feature cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, as well as series creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman. Ben Winston is set to direct, and executive produce alongside Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, Schwimmer, Crane, Kauffman, and Kevin Bright. Emma Conway and James Longman will co-exec produce. Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative TV serves as the studio, with Fulwell 73 Productions also attached to the project.
WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt was said to be instrumental in making the deal happen, seeing the special as a great way to not only promote the Friends library but also the streaming service's debut. The cast is reportedly being paid a group-negotiated fee of between $2.5 million and $3 million per for their involvement.
"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. 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."
– Kevin Reilly, CCO, HBO Max; President, TBS/TNT/truTV