Recent reports suggest that HBO Max has secured itself a potentially major launch event with an official Friends reunion featuring the entire cast of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry.
Due to launch in the US this May, HBO Max is already confirmed as the new streaming home for the original Friends series and leaning into fan demands for a revival has the potential to pull in an initial wave of eager subscribers.
Rival streamer CBS All Access has already shown with Star Trek: Discovery how a major in-house brand can help leverage initial interest in a new platform so it makes sense for HBO Max, owned by WarnerMedia which also happens to own Friends producers Warner Bros. TV, to follow suit.
The show remains popular with its original audience, even if some of its jokes haven’t aged too well, ensuring that it’s remained available on DVD, in endless re-runs and via Netflix.
The show also continues to inspire a range of merchandise including a tie-in Monopoly version, a Trivial Pursuit edition and – hat tip to mrcasinova.com which keeps track of new online casinos and their games – a rather unlikely but fully official slot game, plus there’s also a Top Trumps game for those really into their retro gaming!
However fans should probably temper down their excitement as Deadline reports that the reunion will be an “unscripted reunion special” rather than a full-on revival as enjoyed by fellow 90s sitcom Will & Grace.
While that’s going to fall short of some fans’ hopes, the reported $3m being paid to each of the stars and HBO Max’s need of a successful launch means Friends fans are almost certain to avoid the crushing disappointment caused by Channel 4’s Inbetweeners reunion which went down so badly that even the show’s stars branded it a “disaster”.
HBO’s recently renewed content deal with Sky means it’s probably unlikely the service will be launching in the UK but the popularity of Friends makes it almost certain the reunion special will be crossing the Atlantic in the near future.