The cast of Friends still plans on being there for you, it's just going to take a little longer. WarnerMedia's planned reunion special will not be available when HBO Max launches next month, another delay caused by the current global health crisis. The unscripted look-back at the classic sitcom will be the first time the entire cast was on stage together in over 15 years and was meant to help boost subscribers to the streaming service, which reportedly paid $425 million for the rights to broadcast all 236 episodes. Reportedly, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt was instrumental in making this deal a reality, with the cast being paid a group-negotiated fee of between $2.5 million and $3 million per cast member for their involvement.
Set to be filmed on the original series' Stage 24 of the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, the reunion will feature Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, 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 produces 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.
Having a connection with the original series from its early days of development only to then find himself working on the series years later makes having the rights and filming the reunion that much more special for HBO Max CCO and TBS/TNT/truTV President Kevin Reilly: "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."