The Friends reunion special will likely film this summer, Variety reports. The episode was originally intended to be completed by May 27 in an effort to coincide with the premiere of the HBO Max streaming service.
The filming delay was precipitated largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced several studios to close. WarnerMedia Entertainment executive Bob Greenblatt told Variety that he hopes for a completed show by the end of the summer.
“We’re holding out for being able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer if the stars align, and hopefully, we can get back into production.”
The goal is for the reunion to be filmed in front of a live studio audience.
“We do think there’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together,” Greenblatt continued.
Nothing is off the table as far as the format of the anticipated reunion. If there is an extensive delay, the special may engage in remote filming of the stars involved. The gathering “may go more to a virtual route,” per Greenblatt.
The studio executive stated that — even if the show is available in the fall — it will be something that “we can have the audience really looking forward to as well.”
Back in February, the announcement of a reunion excited the Friends fandom.
A simple statement coming from Jennifer Aniston caused great excitement, as her Instagram post on the subject garnered over 4 million likes in short order.
The Emmy-winning sitcom aired from 1994 to 2004 and starred Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, and Matthew Perry. All of the stars have signed on to be in the reunion special and each is set to receive between $2.5 and $3 million for their participation — a significant increase over the $1 million per episode salaries they received in the show’s final seasons. When signing on to the project, the cast insisted on an unscripted show.
Many of the original crew members will be there as well. The special will be directed by Ben Winston, who will also executive produce alongside the original Friends executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane, Today reported. Stage 24 on the Warner Brothers Studio lot will serve as the principal location for the production, the same place the original filming took place.
Even if the Friends reunion premieres late, fans can check out all of the episodes of the series on HBO Max when it launches in a few weeks.