After years of mini reunions on TV and a selfie that almost broke Instagram, the Friends cast several months ago started conversations for a full-blown unscripted reunion special on the upcoming streaming platform HBO Max. The negotiations had recently come to a standstill, I hear, with the cast and producing studio Warner Bros. TV far apart on money. Because of the impasse and the big, eight-figure gap between what the cast is seeking money-wise and what the studio is willing to pay, sources close to the situation consider the special not happening as of right now.
“There is interest all around and yet we can’t get the interests all alighted to push the button on it,” HBO Max’s Chief Creative Officer Kevin Reilly said about the reunion special at TCA. “Today it’s just maybe.”
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Aniston, who orchestrated the recent reunion of the cast for a photo that launched her Instagram account (and temporarily crashed the platform), in early November alluded to the project while on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
While she confirmed what Friends creators had been said all along, that there will not be a Friends reboot, she let slip that some sort of reunion is in the works.
“I would love for there to be something, but we don’t know what that something is,” she said. “So we’re just trying. We’re working on something.”
The special, in which co-creators/executive producers Marta Kauffman and David Crane were expected to have some involvement, was designed to help launch Friends reruns on HBO Max. The streamer shelled out $425 million for rights to the hugely popular sitcom, which has emerged as one of Netflix’s biggest hits.
Friends has been in the zeitgeist with the worldwide celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary. Aniston’s selfie with her Friends co-stars Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer set a new Guinness World Records for the fastest time to reach one million followers, underscoring just how hugely popular the show continues to be,
During a Friends 25th anniversary panel at Tribeca TV Festival in September, Kauffman and Crane shut the door on possible reboot or scripted reunion that would revisit the characters and stories from the hit series.
“We will not be doing a reunion show, we will not be doing a reboot,” Kauffman said. “The show was about that time in life when friends are your family,” she explained, adding that life changes when your family becomes your family.
And a reboot? No. “It’s not going to beat what we did,” Kauffman said.
Added Crane, “We did the show we wanted to do. We got it right, and we put a bow on it.”
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