Netflix Removes 'Friends' January Expiration Date

The One Without Friends Streaming on Netflix might be much shorter than expected. The show's January expiration date has disappeared on the streaming site on the same day that Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said the show's departure was only a rumor.

Late Saturday, fans spotted an "available until 1/1/2019" expiration date listed for Friends. This instantly led to a wave of tweets from shocked fans. However on Monday, that date disappeared.

Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter that the show's "departure is a rumor." However, Warner Bros. Television, which produced the series, did not not comment.

Friends has been available on Netflix since 2015, which was a high-profile acquisition for the streaming service and introduced the beloved show to a new generation. Netflix remains the exclusive streaming home for the show, although it is still in syndication on TBS and Viacom cable networks.

The concern about Friends' disappearance comes at a major turning point in the streaming landscape. Warner Bros. TV's parent company, the AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, is working on its own streaming service that will be available in the fourth quarter of 2019. It is not yet known how deep the library of legacy content will be on the service, but it will reportedly be available in three tiers. The third, likely more pricier tier, includes movies, original programming and past shows.

Netflix is also trimming original content produced by third-parties, including Marvel's Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil and CBS Studios' American Vandal.

Friends' potential departure started a swift response on social media. A Change.org petition even earned more than 9,000 signatures.

"Many people love the show Friends, no matter how old it gets. 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," the petition author wrote.

Many others pointed out that Friends is frequently on TBS and other channels.

"Those upset about Netflix removing #Friends, there are other options to watch it, you know. TBS, Nick at Nite to name a few," one person wrote.

"People freaking out over the removal of #Friends on Netflix have probably never seen TBS lineup. It's literally on 20 hours," added another.

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Friends originally ran on NBC from 1994 to 2004 and was created by David Crane and Marta Kaufman. The show turned David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc and Courteney Cox into major stars.

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