Friends Cast Will Reunite for HBO Max Special

Unscripted event featuring the 6 stars will bolster streaming service's May launch

Cast of Friends
The unscripted special will be available in May upon the debut of HBO Max. Getty Images

Come May, Friends fans will have a new episode to tune into, one in which the original cast comes back together.

An unscripted special will bring the original cast of the popular sitcom—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer— back to the Warner Bros. Studio lot for a reunion and celebration of the show, which first aired in 1994.

The special, along with all 236 episodes of Friends, will be available to stream when WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service debuts in May.

“Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together—we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire Friends library,” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max and president of TBS, TNT and truTV, said in a statement. “I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends – and audiences – gathered together in real time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans.”

The special, which has yet to be named, will be directed by Ben Winston and executive produced by Marta Kauffman, Kevin Bright and David Crane, the show’s original executive producers, along with the six main cast members.

Kauffman, Crane and Bright, Adweek’s 2019 Media Visionaries, have been adamant about not bringing back a scripted reunion despite pleas from fans.

Friends has been celebrating 25 years on the air with a lengthy and heavily merchandised anniversary celebration. Its 236 episodes will serve as jewels in HBO Max’s crown, and the show was highlighted in the streaming service’s first-ever teaser, which was released last week.

After signing off from NBC, the show continued airing reruns, but its popularity skyrocketed again when it became available on Netflix. It was the second-most-streamed show on the service in 2018, Nielsen said. Last summer, HBO Max snapped up the streaming rights for the sitcom for the debut of the streaming service, which will cost $14.99 a month.

To build anticipation for the Friends reunion and the launch of HBO Max, WarnerMedia will air every episode of Friends on its cable network TBS from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day for the next four weeks.

@kelseymsutton Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.