The planned Friends reunion special at HBO Max has been delayed due to coronavirus concerns, according to media reports.
The unscripted special, which would’ve reunited stars Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc, was expected to shoot next week, but it has now been pushed to sometime in May — at the earliest.
The final episode of Friends aired on May 6, 2004, and the special would’ve seen the gang return to the show’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. The cast had planned to reminisce about their time on America’s hottest sitcom and how it has aged over the years.
The special was expected to help launch HBO Max in May, and was seen as a compliment to the scripted series, which WarnerMedia acquired for $400 million. The company beat out Netflix to serve as the exclusive home of the beloved comedy series, which ran for 10 seasons on NBC.
I was a huge fan of Friends during its initial airing, but this reunion special always felt like a cash-grab to me. It’s not like the cast has been out of the public eye. I’d love to catch up with Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey, and see where those characters wound up 15+ years later, but an unscripted series never had the same appeal to me, though millions of fans surely would’ve tuned in. Now, they’ll just have to wait a little longer. Maybe the cast will end up talking about how they spent their time in quarantine, and whether any of them reached out to their co-stars during this terrifying pandemic.
HBO Max remains on track to launch this May, and to be honest, there may not be a better time to launch a new streaming service.