HBO Max is on its way to take on the likes of Apple TV+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime — and it’s going to come out fighting. A new report reveals the service is close to securing a big Friends reunion.
Yes, the return we’ve all been waiting for, but never really believed would happen, is close. It is said to be an hour-long special that will feature all six stars from the hit show.
It won’t exactly be the Friends reunion you’ve been dreaming of, however.
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry have reached an agreement in principle for a new Friends special, Deadline reports.
It could give HBO Max a huge advantage over rival streaming services, including the biggest in the business — Netflix — which has been paying through the nose to provide its fans with the Friends series.
It is believed the special will cost HBO Max around $20 million. And while we can’t wait to see it, we’re going to tell you know that it might be a good idea to temper your expectations.
Friends reunion close for HBO Max
It sounds like the reunion will happen. Negotiations between Warner Bros. and HBO Max are back on after they came to a standstill late last year, and it is believed a deal is very nearly done.
Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing in Friends, teased the news on Twitter this week.
Big news coming…
— matthew perry (@MatthewPerry) February 5, 2020
This won’t be a Friends reboot, however. The special will be unscripted and is likely to be more of a documentary rather than a follow-up to the final series, which finished in 2004.
All six stars will be paid between $3 million and $4 million each for taking part, Deadline revealed. Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, who have dashed hopes of a full reboot on a number of occassions, are also thought to be involved.
A swipe at Netflix
The deal will be a kick in the teeth for Netflix, in particular. Friends has become one of its biggest shows after it coughed up a reported $425 million to secure the rights to it for several years.
It may also hit a nerve at Apple, with Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel Green, the star and executive producer of its flagship original The Morning Show. Apple TV+ is already desperate for new content three months after its launch.
Friends celebrated its 25th anniversary last fall, when Kauffman and Crane again reminded fans during a Tribeca TV Festival panel that they “will not be doing a reunion show.”
“We did the show we wanted to do,” Crane said. “We got it right, and we put a bow on it.”
Some fans will likely be upset that the HBO Max special won’t be a continuation of the original Friends series. But plenty agree that a reboot may spoil what so many saw as the perfect sitcom.