Just a few months after the 25th anniversary of Friends, the cast of arguably the best sitcom is almost certain to return for a reunion special.
The Friends reunion will help launch HBO Max, HBO’s new streaming platform where the complete Friends television series calls its media library home and will be one of HBO Max’s main shows.
Rumors are the negotiations have been difficult, but according to Deadline’s sources, the entire cast comprised of Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Courtney Cox, David Schwimmer, and Lisa Kudrow had all reached an agreement with Warner Bros. TV. The special is rumored to be an hour-long special, though people have been discreet about the details. Sources also say that the entire cast will get $3-4 million each for being present in the special.
The rumored budget spent on the cast for the Friends special is around $20 million, around the same amount of what streaming giant and competitor Netflix shells out on their comedy specials from the likes of Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, and Dave Chappelle, Joe Rogan, among others. It is interesting to note that HBO has been keeping eye on how their competitors spend on specific products and try to get in line with their own content. It is also curious that they managed to get the entire cast to be on board for such a price, given that it’s just a little bit above what networks pay per actor in such big sitcoms like The Bigbang Theory.
The special nearly fell off after some negotiation issues between HBO and the cast’s reps last fall that led to a standstill last year where Warner Bros. and the representatives having differences in terms of the actor’s salaries for the special. The deadlock lasted a couple of weeks that forced HBO Max’s creative head Kevin Reilly to become skittish when asked about the standing of the special.
Ultimately, the two parties were able to reach a compromise on their negotiations and reached an agreement. Shortly after, Matthew Perry who became famous playing Chandler Bing tweeted out a cryptic message that something huge will be announced very soon, alluding to the Friends hour-long special.
Big news coming…
— matthew perry (@MatthewPerry) February 5, 2020
David Crane and Marta Kauffman, co-creators of the original series are said to be involved in some capacity as well.
HBO Max allegedly doled out $425 million to obtain the rights for Friends, which was one of the most popular shows on Netflix, which was a big blow to the streaming giant given that the streaming wars have been very tight and all streaming platforms have been ramping up their content as of late.