Being mostly a product of the 1990s, the stories and situations that can be seen in classic NBC sitcom “Friends” might feel a little bit behind the times now. But the central theme of a close-knit group of young adults who know each other well and have one another’s backs is practically a timeless thing. It is for the sake of that timeless appeal during the silver anniversary of “Friends” that the creative team has been trying to assemble the classic cast for a reunion special on HBO Max, the upcoming streaming home of the series when it launches. Despite some hiccups, it seems the production is now officially confirmed.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there is pretty much nothing left to discuss as both the creators and the main cast of “Friends” back on NBC have agreed to join forces for a one-shot reunion special that will become available along with the entire original 10-season series run on HBO Max a few months from now. Although confirmed to be unscripted in nature, original show-runners Marta Kauffman and David Crane will be joining Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Courtney Cox in the special, as announced February 21 last week.
In a repeat of what the cast did during the original run of “Friends” where they renegotiated with NBC for a per-episode compensation to the tune of $1 million each, the six friends again put team pressure on HBO Max to see each of them being paid anywhere from $2.5 to $3 million for starring in the special, or so anonymous inside sources have related.
HBO Max is keen on not only getting the entirety of “Friends” (after it was pulled from other streaming services) on its platform but to also build up on the franchise a little by seeing an all-new related production to it, even if it will only be a one-off reunion special. But this strategy is exactly the same thing that Disney has undertaken with its Disney+ streaming service. Granted, making a reunion special for a series seems small potatoes compared to the full series being made by Disney to connect to two major film franchises (MCU and “Star Wars”), but HBO Max is just following sound future direction for streaming.
While the “Friends” reunion is getting ready to shoot at the same studio the series was made, Warner Bros. TV has not let fans forget that the sitcom has turned 25 years old as of last year. Several copies of the “Friends” couch along with pop-up “branches” of the Central Perk Café have made their merry way around the world.
Image from E! News Online