Longtime fans of Friends were thrilled when the entire original cast—Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc—simultaneously announced they’d be reuniting for a special retrospective look at the beloved sitcom earlier this year. Like so many other TV shows and movies, however, production on the Friends reunion was shut down as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The special was originally expected to debut on HBO Max this month, but filming has now been tentatively pushed back to the end of summer.
“At first we thought, shows will be delayed for a month or two at the most, and now it seems like it’s going to be far longer than that,” WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt told Variety. “We’re holding out for being able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer, if the stars align and hopefully we can get back into production. We do think there’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together and we didn’t want to just suddenly do it on a web call with, you know, six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms.”
If the stay-at-home orders continue for an extended period of time, however, Greenblatt admitted that the reunion special “may go more to a virtual route, if it is delayed too long.” As of now, though, the plan is to shoot the special together. “But at the moment, we’re trying to look to the future and get this thing done in a more conventional way, and I think it’s worth waiting for,” he explained. “We would have loved to have had it on [HBO Max on] Day One, but at the same time, if we can get it launched in the fall, I think it’ll be something that we can have the audience really looking forward to as well.”