When Jennifer Aniston launched her Instagram account with a reunion photo with her “Friends” co-stars in October and teased that a project was in the work on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” the following month, fans were hopeful for a reboot or reunion special.
“There is interest all around and yet we can’t get the interests all alighted to push the button on it,” HBO Max’s Chief Creative Officer Kevin Reilly said about the show’s status at the Television Critics Association. “Today it’s just maybe.”
Since the parties are at a monetary impasse, the special may not be ready for HBO Max’s spring launch, which may put the streaming service at a disadvantage with NBCUniversal’s Peacock also set to debut that season.
Other competing platforms like Discovery and the BBC’s team-up that is releasing at some point in 2020 may also take a swipe at consumer dollars before a settlement can be reached between HBO Max’s cast and crew.
Left-to-right: Matt Le Blank as Joey Tribbiani, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller. (David Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank)
Co-creators and executive producers Marta Kauffman and David Crane were expected to help with the special, according to Deadline’s report, which was supposed to incentivize subscriptions for streamers who love the show and want to watch reruns.
However, the publication noted that Kauffman and Crane told fans that they will not be involved at the “Friends” 25th-anniversary panel at the Tribeca TV Festival in September.
“We will not be doing a reunion show, we will not be doing a reboot,” Kauffman said. “The show was about that time in life when friends are your family.”
Crane added, “We did the show we wanted to do. We got it right, and we put a bow on it.”
John Stankey, President & Chief Operating Officer of AT&T and Chief Executive Officer of WarnerMedia, speaks onstage at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation on Oct. 29, 2019, in Burbank, California. (Presley Ann/Getty Images)
Without the exclusive special, people can watch “Friends” on regular TV channels like TBS and Nickelodeon’s evening segment Nick at Nite or purchase the series on Amazon, iTunes or YouTube or as a DVD boxset.
Warner Bros paid $425 million for the rights to stream “Friends.”