HBO Max subscribers, as well as die-hard fans, have been anxiously awaiting the Friends reunion special. Decades in the making, the special was noticeably missing from the new streamer's content catalog when it launched back in May, and production was further delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although the fate of the special has all but been hanging in limbo, David Schwimmer, who portrayed Ross, gave fans a hopeful update.
Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday, Schwimmer revealed that "the hope is that this reunion special" could begin production sometime in August. Schwimmer said that "the middle of August" is the current goal, though he admitted that much is still unknown, and "we're going to wait and see another week, or two," according to Yahoo News. The actor added that "if we all determine it's really safe enough to do," work will get started, but "if not, then we'll wait until it's safe."
Although rumors of a Friends reunion had circulated for years, Kevin Reilly, chief content officer (HBO Max) and president (TBS, TNT and truTV), confirmed in February of this year that such a special would officially be coming to HBO Max. In a statement, Reilly announced that "we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire Friends library." The special had initially been slated to debut in May. However, several sources soon confirmed that WarnerMedia would not be able to have it ready to go for HBO Max's launch, in large part due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced production on many series and films to grind to a halt. In March, Deadline confirmed that the special would delay filming, reporting that production would be pushed back until sometime in May, a date that was again pushed back.
As the cast prepares to step back on set in August, potentially, there will be additional safety measures to ensure the health and safety of both cast and crew. According to a source, who also confirmed the targeted August production date, that spoke to the Mirror earlier this month, "there are going to be very strict guidelines and that includes no live audiences." The source alleged that all members of the cast would be tested for the coronavirus "and asked to quarantine in isolation after they've had the tests."
The upcoming special, which does not yet have a potential debut date, is set to be an unscripted piece, with Schwimmer revealing that "it's basically a really fun interview and then some other surprise bits." It will mark the first time the entire cast of the series has reunited on the screen since the show came to an end in 2004.