The Truth About The ‘Friends’ Reunion; No Matthew Perry Won’t Be There

Yes, five of the six original Friends will reunite next month, but not in the way many fans had hoped, David Schwimmer told Us Weekly Saturday. Schwimmer (who played Ross), will reportedly appear on an upcoming NBC Special honoring famed TV director James Burrows, along with Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) and Matt LeBlanc (Joey).

Schwimmer also revealed he has “no idea” what the show will entail, or what is expected of the cast.

“I’m flying in that day, so I’m just showing up. From what I’ve been told… we’re all going to come up on stage and talk about Jim and give him a hug.”

The star went on to say how happy he is to be involved in the special and to celebrate Burrows’ many achievements.

“I just want to be in the room when he’s honored because this man has contributed so, so greatly to our country’s enjoyment of television over the last 40, 50 years. There are so many people who love him and whose careers were defined by him.”

Cast members from Frasier and Cheers to Will & Grace are reportedly appearing at the event, which will air as a two-hour special on NBC Sunday, Feb. 21. Burrows has a dizzying resume, with directing credits that also include classics like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and more recent triumphs like Mike & Molly. The legendary director is also celebrating his 1,000th television episode with NBC’s upcoming sitcom Crowded.

Matthew Perry (Chandler) is the only one of the show’s six main characters not scheduled to appear in the tribute to Burrows, who directed 15 episodes of Friends. According to the Daily Mail, during a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Perry told audiences there would not be a Friends reunion in the traditional sense.

“It’s not the reunion everyone is hoping for; they are celebrating Jim Burrows who was director of Friends. The other five [Friends] are going to be on this special and I am going to introduce them from London.”

Perry is currently in London doing rehearsals and preparing to make his West End debut Tuesday, Feb. 2 at the Playhouse Theatre in his own play, The End of Longing, his publicist Lisa Kasteler told Us Weekly. Schwimmer acknowledged Perry’s absence, but offered his support.

“He’s working in London – I’m rooting for him and his new play.”

NBC chief Robert Greenblatt nearly broke the Internet recently when he made an announcement during a press tour for the Television Critics Association that left fans hoping a larger Friends reunion effort was in the works.

“I’m hoping all six will be in the room at the same time. I’m not sure we can logistically pull it off.”

It was later revealed that the event would not be a two-hour Friends reunion as originally reported, but that the original cast members would simply be gathered together for the Burrows tribute instead, sans Perry of course. Schwimmer also spoke to FX’s TCA panel, calling the initial reports “completely inaccurate.”

“I mean, in no way is it a Friends reunion when one member is out of the country.”

Any hopes that the real-life reunion would lead to any type of on-screen collaboration for the cast were also squashed when the show’s co-creator Marta Kauffman told E! News that there will “never” be a Friends reunion.

“There will never be a Friends reunion movie. Friends was about the time in your life when your friends are your family and once you have a family, there’s no need anymore.”

[Photo credit: Getty Images / Handout]