Following a full year of one delay after another, the planned Friends reunion special at HBO Max is finally due to be taped next week, according to multiple sources.
The unscripted special, which will reunite stars Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc, was initially planned to shoot in March 2020, but was delayed several times due to the pandemic. Ben Winston will direct the reunion, which will also feature Friends creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane.
Collider reached out to HBO Max in late February after hearing that the Friends special would tape the first week of April, with a likely debut in May. At the time, a representative for HBO Max could not confirm the taping date due to the fluidity of the situation, but they did not deny it either. On Friday, HBO Max reiterated it could not confirm a premiere date for the special, and though the streamer declined to comment regarding production dates, a representative once again did not deny that the special will be recorded next week.
The final episode of Friends aired on May 6, 2004, while HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020, so the premiere of the special could end up being tied to either anniversary. Millions of fans are expected to tune in, making this a very high priority for the streaming service as it enters its sophomore year.
The special is expected to see the Friends cast 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.
WarnerMedia spent $400 million to ensure that HBO Max would be the exclusive home of the beloved comedy series, which ran for 10 seasons on NBC. All six members of the cast are expected to earn between $3 million and $4 million for their participation in the special.