Don’t worry if it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year: The cast of “Friends” is making a comeback to your TV screen.
More than 15 years after audiences last saw Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey on network television, the gang is returning for an untitled, unscripted exclusive special for HBO Max, a new streaming service. In addition to the special, subscribers will also have access to all 236 episodes of the Emmy Award-winning series when the streaming service makes its debut in May, executives said in a statement on Friday.
“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, the streaming service’s chief content officer.
On Instagram, cast members posted a Rolling Stone cover photo from the show’s early days.
“It’s happening,” they wrote.
View this post on Instagram
It’s happening… @hbomax @jenniferaniston @lisakudrow @mleblanc @mattyperry4 @_schwim_
The announcement of the unscripted special comes just weeks after the show’s removal from Netflix.
“Friends” has enjoyed a rich cultural afterlife, as audiences rediscovered — or, for younger viewers, discovered for the first time — the show in reruns or on streaming services.
In 2014, a replica of Central Perk, a fictional coffee shop that figured heavily as a setting in the show’s 10-season run, was set up in the SoHo section of Manhattan to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its debut
But it hasn’t been all nostalgic glory for the show in the years since it went off the air. In August, Buzzfeed detailed how the show “hasn’t aged well.” In 2018, Insider described the show as “overrated at best and problematic at worst.”
The “Friends” series finale, which aired in May 2004, drew more than 52.5 million viewers at the time.
There are scant details available about the special at this time, an HBO Max spokeswoman said in a brief interview on Friday, but fans who are able to pivot past the characters’ impossibly big Manhattan apartments will be treated to an unscripted show filmed at the comedy’s original soundstage.
HBO Max declined to comment on the monetary aspects of the deal on Friday.
Variety reported on Friday that the six actors — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer — “will receive at least $2.5 million apiece for participating in the special.” The sitcom stars could “be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million for the special,”.
Source: hollywoodreporter.com , nytimes.com