Just two days after Matthew Perry teased something big was coming, a new report suggests the long-rumored Friends reunion special is inching close to becoming a reality. The special, which will cost WarnerMedia $20 million just to bring the entire cast back, will help the company launch the new HBO Max streaming service. HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming platform for the show, which left Netflix at the beginning of the year.
On Thursday, Deadline reported that Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Perry have reached an agreement "in principle" with series producer Warner Bros. TV to make a one-hour special. The stars will be paid $3 million to $4 million each.
The special was close to not happening at all after negotiations reached a standstill at the end of last year because the two sides could not agree on salaries. The snag lasted a few weeks, which explains why HBO Max Chief Creative Officer Kevin Reilly could not say anything concrete during the Television Critics Association Press Tour in January.
"There is interest all around, and yet we can’t get the interests all alighted to push the button on it," Reilly told reporters. "Today it's just maybe."
The report came just two days after Perry returned to Twitter. "Big news coming," he teased, without offering any further detail.
Interest in a Friends reunion has never been hotter. The show just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and Aniston almost broke Instagram by sharing a photo from a recent dinner with the cast together. By November, sources told The Hollywood Reporter a reunion special was being put together.
In a December THR interview, HBO Max chief Bob Greenblatt said the reunion was one of his top priorities.
"All I will say is, 'We're talking about it,'" Greenblatt said at the time. "We've been drilling down on what it could be and trying to see if everybody's really on board and interested. And if so, can we make the right deals for everybody. We're starting it as a special. It's possible there could be something ongoing, but it would be in steps. We're far from that."0comments
The last time the Friends cast got together for a special was back in 2016, when then-NBC executive Greenblatt put together a special to honor director James Burrows. The only Friends castmember to miss the special was Perry.
WarnerMedia paid $425 million to be the exclusive streaming home for Friends for five years. The series was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, who are expected to take part in shaping the reunion special.