The cast of Friends waited 16 years to reunite for a TV special. They will have to wait a little longer. Filming of the untitled unscripted Friends reunion special for HBO Max has been postponed until May over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I have learned.
According to sources, if the current new production date holds, the special will still be ready for the launch of HBO Max, also slated for May. (Exact launch date has not been announced yet but is believed to be later in the month.)
Given the severity of the health crisis, which ground all Hollywood production to a halt in a matter of days, it is currently doubtful that any film or TV production could resume by May though the situation is being evaluated week by week and even day by day. Right now, there are strict federal and state guidelines limiting public gatherings to help curb the spread of the virus, which are expected to be in place for weeks.
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Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer are all set to return to the iconic comedy’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank to film the reunion special, directed by Ben Winston. The sextet also serve as executive producers alongside Friends creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane.
The hope is for the special to join all 236 episodes of the Emmy-winning 1994-2004 NBC series, which will be available to subscribers at the launch of HBO Max in May. The special is designed to help usher Friends reruns on the streamer, which shelled out $425 million for rights to the hugely popular sitcom, until recently one of Netflix’s biggest hits.
Winston executive produces along with Bright, Kauffman and Crane as well as Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry and Schwimmer. Emma Conway and James Longman are co-executive producers. The special hails from Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television and Fulwell 73 Productions.
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