Fans of the Emmy Award-winning comedy “Friends” have been desperate for some kind of reunion since the show ended its ten-year-run in 2004, and now they finally have their wish. Per Variety, the cast of the long running sitcom will get back together for a one hour unscripted special as part of the launch of HBO Max.
Along with this special, HBO Max announced all ten seasons of “Friends” will be available when the brand new streaming service debuts in May. The news that all 236 episodes will be part of the HBO Max library will be music to the ears of fans who were left disappointed when the series left Netflix at the end of 2019. There is no news yet on when exactly this special will air.
The special will take place on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank with all six of the leading stars to take part in a celebration of the beloved series. Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry are expected to receive at least $2.5 million each for their participation. Emmy Award winner Ben Winston (“Carpool Karaoke”) will direct the special, with Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane to produce. The six returning cast members will also be executively producing.
Variety published a quote from Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max, expressing his delight and giving his thoughts on the reunion:
“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.”
Since the show ended in 2004, the cast have had a variety of career paths. Aniston is perhaps the biggest star to have come out of the show, starring in dozens of films including a Golden Globe nomination for “Cake,” a performance that many thought might pick up a surprise Oscar nomination that year. She is currently starring in “The Morning Show” for Apple TV+ alongside Reese Witherspoon. Both Kudrow and LeBlanc led their own comedy shows with “The Comeback” and “Episodes” respectively, with LeBlanc winning a Golden Globe for his performance as well as receiving four Emmy nominations.
Cox meanwhile featured in over 100 episodes of “Cougar Town” which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, while Perry has led numerous shows and specials including “The Odd Couple,” “Mr. Sunshine” and “The Ron Clark Story,” the latter of which earned him a Golden Globe nod. Schwimmer’s newest series “Intelligence” has just started in the UK, but without doubt his most notable role since Ross Geller was his portrayal of Robert Kardashian in Ryan Murphy’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” which earned him an Emmy nomination.
More details should be expected soon in the build up to the reunion, including whether any other former cast members will be returning and the overall structure of the special.