The cast of Friends is nearing a deal to reunite for an unscripted special at HBO Max.
Fans may have had to say farewell to any new episodes of Friends when the show made its final bow in 2004, but thanks to the magic of syndicated reruns and streaming services, fans have never really had to say goodbye.
Now, fans may have something new to look forward to 25 years after the premiere of the very first episode — an unscripted reunion special with the full cast.
According to Deadline, Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry have reached an agreement in principle to do an hour-long special. Though no official word has been given, each of the six stars will reportedly be paid in the $3 million to $4 million range to appear in the special.
That would make the total cost of the special $20 million — a seemingly steep asking price for an hour-long special, until you see that it’s actually comparable to what Netflix has been giving to top comedians like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres and Amy Schumer to headline hour-long specials.
That $20 million price likewise pales in comparison to the original deal that Netflix made when it initially bought the rights to become the exclusive streaming site for the show. That price was $30 million dollars in 2015, then up to $100 million to retain the rights through 2019 and half of 2020.
However, Warner Media’s new streaming service HBO Max then stepped in and shelled out $425 million for exclusive streaming rights to Friends, which will move from Netflix to HBO Max in May when the new streamer launches.
The reunion will not only celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show’s premiere, but be a celebration of HBO Max as the new, exclusive streaming home for Friends.