Fans of the popular sitcom were alarmed Saturday night when the series’ Netflix page listed that episodes would be available "until 1/1/19" on the streaming giant, but Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos assured fans when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter that the show's "departure is a rumor."
In fact, as of Monday afternoon, the Jan. 1 expiration date has been removed. THR notes that appearing and disappearing expiration dates, such as is the case with Friends, “may be a function of the streaming service's contracts expiring and possible renegotiations taking place.”
Reps for Warner Bros. TV, who produced the sitcom, did not immediately respond to the outlet’s request for comment regarding the matter, and a Netflix spokesperson declined to comment.
Fear that the mega-hit sitcom would be leaving was first prompted Saturday night, with many fans taking to social media to express their grievances with the January, 1, 2019 expiration date.
“THE ONLY REASON I HAVE AN ACCOUNT WITH NETFLIX IS TO REWATCH FRIENDS. WHY @netflix ARE YOU HURTING US,” Hayley Kiyoko wrote.
“Netflix is really removing Friends on Jan. 1 and the only reason I have an account is to rewatch the same episodes of the show whenever I’m bored so I guess it’s time to cancel my subscription,” Sai tweeted.
News of the series’ departure even prompted the creation of an online petition urging the streaming giant to keep the series right where it is.
“Many people love the show Friends, no matter how old it gets,” the petition, created by fans of the series, reads. “It’s helped so many people get through life, and Netflix is most likely their only source of watching it. So even though this might seem stupid, please help and sign the petition.”
As of Monday afternoon, the petition, titled “keep friends on netflix,” had garnered almost 8,500 of its needed 10,000 signatures.
Although Friends’ fate on Netflix may still be lingering in the balance, it was believed when news of its departure first broke that the series would be leaving the streaming platform due to Warner Bros. parent company WarnerMedia’s upcoming launch of its own streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019. Although it is not yet known which titles will be available on WarnerMedia's streaming service, many predicted at the time that it was announced that Friends would eventually leave Netflix.