The ‘Friends’ Reunion Special Might Not Happen, and This Is Why

Saved by the Bell has been given a reboot. Punky Brewster will have a new life on the streaming platform, Peacock, too. HBO Max is rebooting the acclaimed Gossip Girls. In a world where reboots are trendy, fans can’t think of a better show to reboot than Friends. It looked like it was going to happen, too, at least sort of. In November 2019, a reunion special appeared to have the green light, but things have changed and they have changed suddenly. The reunion has gone from “happening” to “maybe happening,” and that has made fans of Monica, Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe incredibly sad. What happened to change the plans so quickly?

Is the Friends reunion going to happen or not?

The fate of a Friends reunion remains up in the air. While Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of WarnerMedia, once said that WarnerMedia would craft a reunion of Friends following the company’s acquisition of streaming rights for the series, he may have been a bit too optimistic. More recently, Kevin Reilly, the chief creative officer of HBO Max, suggested the special is just a “maybe.” According to Deadline, Reilly stated that “There is interest all around and yet we can’t get the interests all alighted to push the button on it.”

The cast of 'Friends'
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller | Jon Ragel/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

While the special has neither the green light nor the red light at the moment, it’s safe to say it won’t be ready for the May 2020 premiere of HBO Max. Fans shouldn’t be too sad, though. It looks like talks are still happening, and, at the very least, the show’s 236 episodes will be available for streaming come May.

Contract negotiations apparently haven’t gone well

Before the six pals join forces again, the network behind the production will have to meet their contract demands. That may not be as easy as it sounds. The Friends cast were among the highest-paid television actors when the show wrapped its 10th season. In fact, they famously made $1 million per episode in the show’s final two seasons, a massive jump from the $75,000 they made per episode in Season 3.

The cast also makes a massive amount of money in syndication. Several reports suggest that each castmember receives about 2% of all syndication profits. When all is said and done, that works out to about $20 million per year, per friend, and there is no sign of it slowing down, either. Simply put, HBO Max would need to make the deal really sweet to get everyone on board, and apparently, that’s just not happening.

Yahoo! has reported that contract negotiations did not go well between the cast and the company looking to capitalize on a Friends reunion. No official statement regarding the talks has been released, however. A Friends reunion would surely fit in well with HBO Max’s overall strategy. After all, it will be the new home for Friends when the platform officially launches in the spring of 2020, but WarnerMedia would have to pay up big to make it happen.

A busy cast and a desire to leave the past in the past could be stalling negotiations

Money isn’t the only thing standing in the way of a Friends reunion. Several of the former castmembers are a little busy at the moment, and they don’t seem to jazzed about revisiting the past in the form of a scripted show, either. Jennifer Aniston, in particular, has a full schedule. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the The Morning Show actress has always been open to the idea of doing some sort of reunion, but she currently has several projects going at once.

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But they’re very very sorry! #FRIENDS25

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Lisa Kudrow recently signed on to voice a dog named Honey in a new animated series, Housebroken. The series is in pre-production. Matt Leblanc, who played Joey Tribianni, is currently working on the CBS series, Man with a Plan. Fitting a reunion into their already packed schedules might be a little tricky, especially if the price isn’t right.