In November, we heard that a Friends reunion special was possibly in the works at HBO Max, though no one would officially confirm it. I’d written, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”. The Hollywood Reporter cautioned that “a deal is far from done and agreements with cast and creatives still need to be hammered out. When and if deals are completed, the challenge then becomes sorting out everyone’s schedules. Of course, the talks could fizzle and the whole concept could fall apart.” Well, it looks like the talks have indeed fizzled, at least for now:
After years of mini reunions on TV and a selfie that almost broke Instagram, the Friends cast several months ago started conversations for a full-blown unscripted reunion special on the upcoming streaming platform HBO Max. The negotiations had recently come to a standstill, I hear, with the cast and producing studio Warner Bros. TV far apart on money. Because of the impasse and the big, eight-figure gap between what the cast is seeking money-wise and what the studio is willing to pay, sources close to the situation consider the special not happening as of right now.
“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 reunion special at TCA. “Today it’s just maybe.”
This doesn’t surprise me at all. I knew that the cast and the creators, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, would want big bucks for whatever they agreed to do. (I’m sitting here trying to wrap my brain around being able to ask for an eight-figure paycheck.) David and Marta also have never seemed interested in doing anything new with Friends, unlike the cast, who’ve all come around over the years. I’m slightly disappointed, but I think the creative bar would also have been impossibly high to clear. I don’t know that they could have come up with a show or special that wouldn’t have annoyed a large portion of the fans for whatever reason. We’ll just have to be content to follow Jen, Courteney, Lisa and Matt on Instagram for now. (Davidhas an account, but doesn’t seem to be very active.) In fact, Jen’s most recent post was two photos of her, Courteney and Lisa, So, reunions are happening, even if a full-blown one never makes it to television as a special.