They showed up in full force online when Netflix's website changed to show that Friends was available "until 1/1/19" starting on Saturday night. In response, numerous angry tweets, long posts and petitions sprang up. By the looks of it, some of them may have worked as an executive said on Monday that the show is here to stay.
Netflix's Ted Sarandos released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, assuring fans that the show's "departure is a rumor." The fact that the rumor started on Netflix's site did not come up, though as of Monday afternoon the expiration date is gone. Mans fans are now patting themselves on the back, believing that their calls to action convinced Netflix to renew the contract.
One petition reached over 9,000 signatures by Monday afternoon. It set a 10,000 signature goal, though clearly Netflix did not even need that many to change its mind. People left comments noting how much the show meant to them, how often they rewatch it and stating that they would cancel their subscriptions without it.
"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," wrote Savannah Acker, who started the petition.
Other petitions continued to spring up, even on Monday as some people heard the news for the first time. At the time of this writing, three petitions asking Netflix to keep Friends are on Change.org's most recent page, each with several signatures.
Netflix's catalogue depends on licensing agreements with the studio or other party that holds the intellectual property rights. In the case of an older series like Friends, it may secure a contract for many years, and if it turns out to be a money-maker for Netflix, the studio may try to raise the price when it comes time for renewal.
Many are now speculating that Warner Bros. TV did just that with Friends. The report by THR speculates that the series' rumored expiration “may be a function of the streaming service's contracts expiring and possible renegotiations taking place.”
Whatever the case, the Friends are safe for now. All 10 seasons are still streaming on Netflix.