Friends is by far one of the most iconic and popular sitcoms to ever grace television screens. Ever since its ten year run came to an end in 2004, die-hard fans have only had one question: when are we getting a reunion?
Old school television shows and movies making a comeback within the past few years is nothing new. The market for reboots and sequels is arguably the highest it’s ever been; with shows like Full House, Boy Meets World, Saved By The Bell, and other 90’s favorites already making a comeback in the new digital age, it only makes sense that one of the most popular out of all of them is getting its moment again in 2020.
Well, the now classic show starring Jennifer Aniston, Coutney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc is making its much-anticipated return to HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s newest streaming service set to launch in May of this year.
“Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together. I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends – and audiences – gathered together in real time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans.” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, in the official release statement.
Along with the reunion special, all 10 seasons and 236 episodes of the Emmy award-winning sitcom will be running exclusively on HBO Max. The stars of the show will be returning back to the sound stage that they originally filmed at in the Warner Bros Studio Lot, Stage 24. Stage 24 gave audiences the origin story of six adults trying to navigate all the trials and tribulations that comes with living in New York City back in 1994 and now, nearly 26 years later, they’re all back and ready to catch up with where they’re at now!
Friends made its original streaming service debut back in 2015 when the entire series was uploaded onto Netflix. The show was removed from the platform at the beginning of the New Year as WarnerMedia’s TV Studio, which owns all the rights and licensing to the show, wanted to give exclusivity rights to HBO Max.
HBO Max reportedly paid upwards of $425 million to carry the series for at least five years, and they hope that all the work that Netflix did by holding the series for the past five years will grant them an entirely new generation of viewers ready to subscribe to the service.
The concept of reboots paralleling the “streaming wars,” that a multitude of networks are joining in on, are making the entertainment industry one of the most competitive, and lucrative, markets out there. CBS, NBC, HBO, Disney, Apple, and so many more have all released their own monthly paid-subscription streaming platforms; with that much competition these corporations know that they need to target specific large audiences to receive viewership.
The easiest way to target these large audiences is by bringing back shows that everyone has already known and loved with a modern lens, to keep it relatable and fresh. Other reboots being used as a “weapon” in these streaming “wars” includes NBC announcing a Saved By The Bell reboot, which will be exclusive to their new Peacock streaming service. Netflix also rebooted certain classics such as Full House and Sabrina The Teenage Witch, both of which are exclusive Netflix originals.
So when HBO Max acquired the rights to Friends, along with a new deal that would guarantee a reunion amongst the six original stars, they knew that that would bring major audiences to the platform once it’s launched in May of this year. So while no one told you life was going to be this way, you can now relax with a cup of Central Perk coffee knowing one of your favorite groups of pals is making their way back to your screens very soon.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.