‘Friends Reunion Special’ will not keep its May debut date
They won't be there for you, at least not right away.
The Friends Reunion Special episode, which was to be a highlight of the launch of new streaming service, HBO Max, will not keep its May debut date with fans. The HBO Max launch, however, is scheduled to take place on its originally planned date.
The continued shutdown in production in the entertainment industry owing to the Coronavirus outbreak has meant that WarnerMedia, owner of both HBO Max and the Friends franchise, has not been able to film the special episode. The special reunites all six primary cast members of Friends — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer — after a gap of 16 years.
The original plan had been to film the special in March, with the aim to debut it along with the HBO Max launch in May. In March, after production shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WarnerMedia came up with a contingency plan to shoot the special in May, just ahead of HBO Max's launch. But now, with the pandemic showing no signs of abating, even that plan has gone for a toss.
Consequently, the HBO Max launch will take place as scheduled, but the Friends Reunion Special will not be available to watch at launch.
WarnerMedia plans to film the special at the Friends' original soundstage, that is, Stage 24 on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank. It will be directed and executive produced by Ben Winston. All six cast members of the show are also Executive Producers, as are Friends creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane.
HBO Max has reportedly paid $425 million to buy the rights to the Friends franchise. It is currently owned by Netflix, where it is the most-watched shows and one of Netflix's biggest hits.
HBO Max will launch in May with all 236 episodes of Friends and all seasons of The Big Bang Theory available to stream on the new streaming service.