The long-awaited Friends reunion has been delayed for the second time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally, the unscripted HBO Max special was set to be filmed on the NBC comedy’s original soundstage before a live audience in March. However, due to COVID-19, it was announced that this would be pushed back to May, a move which meant the show would have coincided with HBO Max’s launch on May 27.
Since then, it was announced on Friday 7 August that the special would be delayed indefinitely.
All six of the main cast members—Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry—had agreed to the reunion and were set to earn a whopping $2.5 million USD each for their appearances.
The special will be the first time that all six stars are reunited in front of the cameras, although a partial reunion did take place in 2016 without Perry as part of NBC’s tribute to director James Burrows.
Speaking to Deadline last week, Aniston said: “It’s very sad that we had to move it again. It was, ‘How do we do this with live audiences?’ This is not a safe time. Period. That’s the bottom line. It’s not a safe time to do it.”
“It’s going to be super. You know what? This has also given us more time to make it even more exciting and more fun than it would have been. So I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed. Look, we’re not going anywhere. You’re never going to get rid of ‘Friends,’ sorry. You’re stuck with us for life, guys.”
Speaking to the Today Show in July, David Schwimmer had confirmed that a reunion was “definitely” still happening, whilst he also recognised the possible need for further delay.
Schwimmer stated, “We have a lot of the creative aspects of the show worked out” but that “The real question is when [we’re going to film it]”, explaining “We’re still trying to figure that out because we want to do it when it’s safe to do so for everyone.”
Despite the uncertainty, Schwimmer confirmed that all six were sill onboard, and that “it’s not even a question.”
The reunion was hotly anticipated for 2020, as Friends has been unavailable to stream in the US this year, with all 10 seasons leaving Netflix at the end of 2019.
Words by Aimee Seddon