Friends has long been one of the most popular TV shows available to stream on Netflix, as younger generations have discovered the 1990s sitcom, while older viewers have rewatched it, sometimes more than once.
The series was reportedly in danger of leaving the service late last year, until Netflix last December ponied up as much as $100 million to keep the show for one more year, per Deadline.
Now, there’s another report that Friends may one day be found on a streaming service that isn’t Netflix.
Kevin Reilly, the president of TBS and TNT, told reporters this week about parent company Warner Media’s plans to launch its own streaming service. And the Warner-owned Friends is “bound to play exclusively on the new platform,” Deadline reported Monday.
“I think you can expect the crown jewels of Warner will ultimately end up on our new service,” Reilly said at the Television Critics Association’s annual press tour. “Pulling it away (from Netflix)? It’s certainly something we’re willing to do,” he added. “I think for the most part, sharing destination assets like that is not a good model to share — my belief is that they should be exclusive.”
A beta version of the Warner Media service will launch in the fourth quarter of this year, although it’s not determined yet when Friends might appear on the service. No name or price point has yet been announced for the service, the launch of which follows the recent sale of the former Time Warner company to AT&T.
The service will also include movies and TV shows from the Warner Brothers movie studio, from HBO, and Turner-owned series. That would include lots of offerings from the Batman, Superman, and Harry Potter franchises.
The Warner service will join a crowded field of streaming competitors, including new offerings from Apple and Disney that will launch this year, as well as existing competition from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and CBS All Access.
Friends, which ran on NBC from 1994 through 2004, was produced by Warner Brothers Television. It debuted on Netflix on New Years’ Day in 2015, and while the streaming service has not released data about how much it is watched, a study last year named it the most binge-watched show of 2018, per Decider.
The show with Ross and Rachel may not be the only NBC sitcom hit leaving Netflix. NBC Universal is looking at pulling The Office from Netflix in order to put it on its own streaming service, which it plans to launch in 2020, Business Insider reported last month.