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Friends reunion special officially on at HBO Max

Friends

Story by Jack Foley

A ONE-off Friends special is officially a go at HBO Max.

The one-off special will represent an unscripted reunion for stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, as well as series creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman.

It will be filmed on Stage 24 of the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, where the entire original series was filmed. Ben Winston will direct and executive produce alongside former Friends alums Kevin Bright, Kauffman and Crane.

Matthew Perry first confirmed the news by posting a picture of the cast in their 90s heyday with the caption: “It’s happening.” This was swiftly followed by posts from his other cast members.

Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max and president, TBS, TNT and truTV, then added: “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.”

The one-off special will make its debut on WarnerMedia-backed HBO Max when that $15 monthly subscription platform launches at a date to be determined in May 2020. At the same time, the entire library of Friends will be available on HBO Max to coincide with the launch.

According to various sources, each cast member will earn more than double their former per-episode fee for the reunion and be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million for the special. That equals roughly £1.9 million.

The reunion is particularly resonant given that Friends is currently in the midst of celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Friends aired from 1994 until 2004. The final show was watched by 52.5 million viewers in the US, making it the most watched TV episode of the 2000s.

The show has since picked up legions of younger fans through Netflix. It was the UK’s favourite streaming show and Netflix’s second most popular show in the US in 2018.