‘Friends’ reunion is on hold due to ‘eight figure gap’ in negotiations

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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.”

[From Deadline]

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.

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Hi from the girls across the hall 👋🏼

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43 Responses to “‘Friends’ reunion is on hold due to ‘eight figure gap’ in negotiations”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I went back to read my comment on the other post, and my feelings haven’t changed. I’d watch a reunion, but I’m not dying for it. I’m just fine watching old episodes of the original (and I’m kind of laughing at everyone upset its off Netflix. I have them all on DVD! lol #old)

    I know there’s a lot of nostalgia right now for Friends, but I don’t think there’s a huge appetite in the public for this reunion special – but maybe I’m wrong.

    • Seán says:

      As much as Friends continues to endure in popularity, the show is very much of its time…a story about six white 20 somethings living in impossibly spacious Manhattan apartments in New York in the 1990s. I don’t think it would work in the 2020s. The spark was already fizzling when it morphed into a wacky comedy / soap opera in the early 2000s.

      • Chaine says:

        ITA. Any reunion would only further emphasize the show’s lack of diversity. I bet whatever comes out of it, if anything, will be the actors all sitting around in a reconstruction of the coffee house set with a host asking them predictable questions about their favorite moments from the show while liberally padding with episode clips so that viewers can relive the good times. The whole thing will be in very soft focus so that no one can contrast Courtney’s current face with her face from 25 years ago, and Matthew Perry will be kind of in the background not saying much since he can’t remember any of it.

      • Becks1 says:

        Yes! I watch old episodes at times when I’m cleaning or whatever and I enjoy it for the nostalgia factor, bc it reminds me of a very particular time in my life (the series finale was the night of my final exam in college – senior year – so I feel kind of like I reached adulthood watching friends) – but I am taken aback by the lack of diversity, the sexism, and honestly the way some of them treat each other.

      • Meg says:

        Even shots involving extras at central perk etc were so very white and lacking diversity. David shwimmer had to specifically bring up casting someone who wasnt white

  2. Michelle says:

    Leave it in the past where it belongs. Stop messing around with something that will only be a disappointment. Where can they even go with the storyline? Cox looks like wax figure, perry isn’t well & at this rate….it will be filmed in a retirement home.

  3. Eleonor says:

    Stop the reboot trend
    But I guess HBO is running out ideas too. Sad if I think this is the same company that gave us Sex and the city, Mad men and Got.

    • Lucy2 says:

      Mad Men wasn’t HBO, but I get your point.

      The numbers would be huge, but I don’t know if it be enough to justify that much money. Would HBO really make that much more in subscriptions? I kind of doubt it.

      • Meghan says:

        My family watched Friends religiously, every Thursday night. I remember being grounded but sitting on the stairs trying to watch the episode in the reflection off the pictures on the wall. But when it was over, it was over. My sister has the DVDs but I don’t think she watches them. I only ever saw it on Netflix at the nail salon.

        I think there is nostalgia for it but absolutely not enough to warrant a whole new show.

  4. Sierra says:

    Jennifer is playing games with those latest 2 Instagram pictures.

    Kind of showing those studios how popular Friends still is and they deserve the big pay check.

    Good for them but I personally don’t want a reunion. Maybe 1 single thanksgiving episode or something but not full reboot.

  5. SamC says:

    I’m also in the no reboot corner. They are all enough in the news that I really don’t need to watch them sitting around talking or being interviewed, nor am that vested to care about where their are characters now.

  6. Prissa says:

    I feel so sad. Courtney Cox (IMO) was the most beautiful of the Friends ladies but she doesn’t even look like herself anymore.

    • smcollins says:

      Ugh, I know! It’s so depressing, isn’t it? She was so strikingly beautiful and ruined it with horrible cosmetic procedures. I’m sure she would have naturally aged beautifully but obviously she didn’t feel the same, and was too scared & insecure to find out. I get wanting to have some subtle tweaking but that’s not what she did, at all. She took it too far.
      As far as a reunion, eh… I really don’t think one is necessary. Now, a completely different project that brings them together as different characters? That would be interesting, but I doubt that would work because their Friends characters are so ingrained that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to see them together any other way.

  7. Originaltessa says:

    Do a one off hour long Thanksgiving special. No one cares about a reunion special. Just pick up where the characters are, don’t try to explain everything, and just put them in a hilarious situation. Done. The entire world will watch it. Everybody wins… if it’s good. Get the script perfect before anything else happens.

    • Bee says:

      Considering the Thanksgiving episodes are some of my favs I would be totally on board with idea

      Also other posts mentioned the lack of diversity/sexism/ect and I do not care and I hope they don’t try to change any of what the original was like or try to be political/’woke’, if they do make an episode. Myself and several ppl I know (cousins and friends) all have a tradition of re watching the whole series start to finish, starting January 1st.

    • FilmTurtle says:

      This. One hourlong Thanksgiving special. One and done.

      Honestly, I think a “Friends” revival could work (not a reboot). Their kids would be mostly grown now. So the whole group dealing with a midlife crisis, empty nest syndrome, aging bodies, getting downsized, new social trends, etc. has potential.

    • S says:

      I’m not even a huge Friends fan and I’d watch this. The Gavin and Stacey Christmas special was the most watched program in the UK in a DECADE, that’s what they did—just dropped in on the characters during the holiday, 10 years later, with everything feeling similar and very lived in. One in four Brits watched it on Christmas day. That’s just…enormous.

    • Sarah121 says:

      This is a BRILLIANT idea!

  8. Polyanna says:

    How greedy can these people be? If they made a reboot it would employ a lot of people that actually need a paycheck.

    • Jess says:

      It’s not about greed, it’s about knowing your worth. Friends is one of the most popular shows of all time and it sold for almost half a BILLION dollars last year, and it’s been how long since new episodes aired, 15/16 years?! That’s an insane amount of money for something that old.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree. It’s crazy money, but they’re in the position to ask for it, and know what the product is worth.

    • Originaltessa says:

      Yeah, no. The special would make money and just pad the pockets of the studio and producers. Nope. The FRIENDS are not spring chickens when it comes to negotiating salary, and understanding their worth. Whatever they’re asking is probably exactly right.

  9. LadyLou says:

    Just give them the money, they are worth it, they know it and everyone involved will make millions with that reunion.

  10. Sarah says:

    The show was already criticized back when it first aired for its glaring lack of diversity, which is why the producers caved and gave Ross a black love interest in the later seasons, but that sh$t is not gonna fly in the year 2020. A show taking place not just in NYC, but in Manhattan, with an all white-cast? KEEP IT. And watch Living Single!

  11. Truth hurts says:

    They are all greedy old annoying ants to me. Yes it’s popular to a certain demographic of people. The same ones that attend old band concerts. But people will pay to see old bans. Didn’t they try bringing this to the movies for a spell? How did that go?! People not gonna subscribe to watch this in HBO.

    • FHMom says:

      I love the show but I agree with you. If they are going to play the I-need-more-money card, then promise to donate all tjat money to charity. Seriously. I’d be on board for that.

    • Courtney says:

      it’s actually really popular with high school and college students rn.

  12. Veronica S. says:

    My guess is that when people throw down those kind of numbers, they’re signaling that they’re not really interested in doing it. And in fairness, a fair number of the cast numbers went on to have fairly decent careers following the show – none of them are hurting for money. The show was on the edge of being outdated already when it was on, as fun as it was. Echoing a lot of people here, most would agree an NYC show with an all white cast not only exists despite reality, it exists in defiance of reality, considering the largest cities in America are notably the places where you’ll find white Americans do not hold a strong racial majority. (Only ~40% of NYC is white only at this point, and that number is decreasing.)

  13. liz says:

    Now it’s clear why all the cast group pics. Trying to show interest to get the money. I was never a watcher of Friends. and really almost all those reunion shows have failed. The magic hits once. This would just be a money grab. You would think they would want to do something different.

  14. Maria says:

    They *were* on a break! That’s all I came to say. Oh, and I miss Frasier. I always preferred it.

    • Golly Gee says:

      yes! Fraser was such a funny show. I would love to see a reboot of that. Kelsey Grammer said he would be interested in reviving the role, but with an entirely different cast. Not sure how I feel about that.

      • Maria says:

        I don’t know how I feel about that either, but if they have decent writers it might be doable! I heard now he wants to do with the same cast (minus John Mahoney of course, sadly).

      • Golly Gee says:

        That would be great! Apparently the cast got along very well. Although Kelsey Grammer made some homophobic remarks not too long ago and I wonder how that would go over with David Hyde Pierce. Yes, I was sad to hear about John Mahoney.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        Grammer is a trumper.

        Frasier was funny, Grammer was fantastic in that role, but I wouldn’t watch a reboot of that.

        I won’t put any money in the pocket of a trumper or a $ciBot.

      • Maria says:

        Yeah Grammer is trash. It’s sad because Frasier’s gotten me through some terrible terrible times, lol.

      • Golly Gee says:

        @Maria, same here! LOL! That show is like comfort food to me. I love the sense of humor as well as the relationships and absurd plots that result from their personalities and the the dynamics between the characters.
        It sucks when real life intrudes and the actor does not match the character and is especially loathsome.

    • Jess says:

      Ugh to Kelsey Grammer, conservative and homophobic nut job. I loved Frazier, but hell no now!

  15. Lop says:

    Aniston instagram is very strategic to her negotiation… good on her, get them coins girl.

  16. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m probably all alone in this, but I never got into friends. I wasn’t part of the millions glued week after week, and never saw the finale. Was there a laugh track? Needless to say, the only one in that group I can stomach is Lisa.

    • Agnes says:

      Same. I watched a few episodes because everyone on my freshman floor was watching it, and found it to be unfunny, unrealistic (in an annoying way), white AF, and just overall grating.

      Is anyone really clamoring for this reunion? Besides the actors who want the money?

    • Golly Gee says:

      Same here! I tried to get into it and couldn’t. Thought the writing was not bad but the acting was so phony that it canceled out the funny for me.

    • Mira says:

      I never liked Friends. I thought it was stupid and mean.