‘Friends’ Reunion: How Much Will the Stars Get Paid?

Friends fans were pretty bummed when the beloved series was pulled from Netflix on Jan. 1. The removal of the series was for a good reason, though; Friends is getting ready to head to its brand new home. When the new streaming service, HBO Max premiers in May 2020, all 10 seasons of the series will live on the platform. Fans wanting more might actually get a little something extra; apparently, plans for a reunion are back on after it looked like the idea had been nixed. With a deal reportedly close to being signed, it seems like the six main cast members are poised to make a lot of money.

The Friends reunion seems to be back on again

The writers of Friends loved a good “will-they-won’t-they” storyline. The push and pull between Ross Geller and Rachel Green, for example, got many fans hooked on the famed series. Rumors of a reunion special have played out exactly the same way. The idea of a reunion was floated around months ago, and it looked like everything was set to make it happen.

Inexplicably, Kevin Reilly, the chief creative officer of HBO Max, began to back peddle several weeks ago. During an interview, he noted that the rumored reunion special was not locked down yet, and at that point, it was just a “maybe.” Whatever led to the ambivalence, apparently, is no longer a problem, according to several publications.

It looks like the reunion, is, once again, going to happen. A few more details have emerged, too. The special is set to be a one-hour-long unscripted event, and it will be exclusive to HBO Max, so Friends fans who want to see it will need to sign up for the service.

How much will the cast of Friends make for their return?

When it looked like the reunion special was iced, many believed contract negotiations were at the heart of the problem. To be fair, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer made a ton of money for appearing on Friends, and they still cash pretty hefty checks for their involvement in the 10-year long project.

According to Cinema Blend, the Friends paychecks didn’t end when the cast went off the air in May 2004. The ensemble cast pulls in a portion of the syndication deals in the form of royalties. While the cast has never mentioned exactly how much they make off royalties, it is estimated that each cast member is pulling in around $20 million a year, thanks to their work on the series.

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing and Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing and Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Clearly, money is no object for the actors, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get paid for reuniting. According to Deadline, a deal has been preliminarily reached for the team to return for a reunion. Each is expected to bank between $3 million and $4 million for their time. The publication notes that the price tag is on par with what streaming giants pay for well-known talent to appear in exclusive content. Netflix, for example, paid Dave Chapelle $60 million for a series of three standup specials, according to Business Insider. Ellen DeGeneres reportedly struck a deal for $25 million for her Netflix special, Relatable.

When can fans expect the reunion to happen?

While no one is actually confirming the reunion just yet, it looks like an official announcement could be coming any day. Matthew Perry teased big news on Twitter on Feb. 4, and the famed Friend finally launched an Instagram account. Many fans believe that Perry’s foray into more modern social media is telling.

Since little is known about the actual reunion, it’s hard to say when it will launch, but industry insiders believe that WarnerMedia will want the reunion to premier the same day that HBO Max goes live. Right now, the service is set for a May 2020 release. Subscribers will need to pay $14.99 per month to access the expansive catalog. Aside from Friends, The Big Bang Theory will also call HBO Max home.