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Friends remains an immensely popular sitcom despite going off the air all the way back in 2004, receiving a second life on Netflix that wound up costing the streaming giant a whole lot before the rights shifted to another streaming service. While an ongoing revival series a la Will & Grace was pretty much never going to happen, fans had reason to hope for something new from the cast, and now it seems a reunion special could actually happen. It's just not the kind of reunion show most fans were probably hoping for.
The six stars are in talks for an unscripted reunion special, according to THR, and the special would release on HBO Max. The project is relatively early in the development process if talks are still happening, so fans shouldn't start counting on it 100% happening just yet. The goal of the reunion is reportedly to bring back Jennifer Aniston (who recently returned to TV as star of a new show), Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer on top of Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane.
There are no guarantees at this point, but it's a good sign for Friends fans that talks are even happening, even if it doesn't mean something scripted to reveal what Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross have been up to in the past 15 years. If this special happens, it will likely make the most complete reunion production since the 2016 broadcast that brought together the core cast (with the exception of Matthew Perry) together for primetime once more.
HBO Max would be the fitting place for a Friends reunion, even unscripted. The long-running sitcom is moving from Netflix to HBO Max for its launch next year, and it could be one of the biggest draws to the new streamer. While HBO Max is also delivering revivals of shows like Gossip Girl and Adventure Time, some crazy new TV projects, and even a Green Lantern-centric series from Arrow-verse mastermind Greg Berlanti as one of two DC Comics-based projects, Friends could be the hook. The originals could keep subscribers on the line.
The streaming wars are certainly heating up. The streaming video game was once ruled by Netflix without any competitors coming especially close, but Amazon and Hulu have gained ground on Netflix in recent years, and some more niche streaming services like CBS All Access and DC Universe have launched as well. The biggest game-changer is likely to be Disney+, which went live on November 12 with a whole lot of content, ranging from classic movies from the Disney vault to original series like the very first live-action Star Wars show to more kid-friendly fare.
HBO Max has the potential to be a player closer to the likes of Hulu and perhaps even Netflix than smaller services like CBS All Access, and NBC's upcoming Peacock (which will likely be ad-supported) could be an entirely different kind of platform. Basically, consumers don't have to worry that they'll run out of TV options any time soon. For now, you can still stream Friends on Netflix.