UPDATE Jan 14: As we cautioned yesterday, amidst the slew of headlines of a Friends reunion on NBC’s James Burrows special, that had not been set in stone. Now I can confirm that there will be no full-blown reunion as at least one Friends cast member, Matthew Perry, will not be in town to attend the tribute of the veteran sitcom director James Burrows who recently helmed his 1,000 episode. I hear Perry had informed NBC of his unavailability prior to the James Burrows special announcement at TCA yesterday. Perry, who may tape something for the occasion, is in London rehearsing for his play, The End of Longing, which begins previews on Feb. 2. The special airs Feb. 21.
PREVIOUS Jan 13: NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt confirmed today at TCA that the network next month will air a special tribute to veteran sitcom director James Burrows, who recently celebrated his 1,000th episode of television with NBC’s new show Crowded. Deadline broke the story in November that a special was in the works and Greenblatt today confirmed the news, along with an air date of Sunday, February 21.
Burrows made his TV sitcom directing debut with a 1974 episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He is probably best known for his work on Taxi, Cheers and spinoff Frasier as well as Will & Grace, which collectively earned him 10 Emmy Awards and four DGA Awards. He directed the pilots for all four series as well as for such other long-running comedies as Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly. Details are still being worked out for the special, but cast from many of the shows are expected to appear. Hazy Mills, the company behind Crowded whose partner is Will & Grace star Sean Hayes who worked with Burrows on the Emmy-winning NBC comedy, and John Irwin/Irwin Entertainment, are producing.