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‘Friends’ reunion special to miss launch – and HBO Max says stars won’t play original roles

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The planned Friends reunion special will not launch along with HBO Max in May, the streaming platform has confirmed.

The unscripted special was due to film on March 23-24 but production was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. WarnerMedia-backed streaming service HBO Max was to launch with the special as its lead attraction.

It would be the first time Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer have reunited for filming in more than 15 years. The special will still go ahead, however, it is not known when production can resume.

HBO said in a statement yesterday (April 10): “We want to share some background information about the production dates for the upcoming unscripted Friends reunion special for HBO Max. As was previously reported, production is delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that the special will not be available on the streamer on Day 1 of launch. But it is coming!

The cast of “Friends.” Clockwise from top left: Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow & Jennifer Aniston. CREDIT:

Hulton Archive

“The cast and producers are all very excited to go into production, as this will be the first time since the show ended that the whole cast will be together, and on the original sets to reminisce. There are loads of great surprises in store and lots of rare behind-the-scenes footage they are eager to share. We will keep you informed as plans solidify and once we have a firm premiere date.”

HBO also provided clarity on what the episode will entail, revealing that the stars will play themselves rather than their Friends characters. “Lastly, in order to avoid any misunderstanding about what this special is, we want to make it very clear that this is not a new, original episode of the series. The cast will be appearing as themselves, not as their beloved characters.”

The reunion special, which was green-lit in February, will also see original show creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman work with the cast.

The Hollywood Reporter previously noted that the actors will earn more than double their former per-episode fee for the reunion and be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million for the special.

HBO Max is set to launch at a later, as yet unconfirmed, date in May.

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