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Friends reunion won’t happen in time for HBO Max launch but series will be available on the platform

Friends reunion won’t happen in time for HBO Max launch next month… but entire series will be available to stream on the new platform instead

It’s the ultimate irony: after massive, longterm efforts to bring the six huge stars of Friends together finally paid off… a global disease struck which made friend gatherings of any sort specifically forbidden.

And while the reunion special to feature Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc is reportedly still in the works, new streaming platform (and Friends home) HBO Max will instead offer up the full 10-season series for streaming upon its launch next month.

The availability of all 236 episodes of the Emmy Award-winning series and cultural phenomenon which ran from 1994 to 2004 will be somewhat of a balm for viewers, who learned last month that the special – which took around six months and labor-intensive negotiations to make happen – was being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s not happening… yet: While the Friends reunion special is reportedly still in the works, it won’t happen in time for the launch of new streaming platform HBO Max next month

It was crushing but expected news, as all television and film productions have ground to a halt amid efforts everywhere to stem the spread of the highly contagious virus.

(To date on Friday, the CDC confirms that the total number of confirmed cases in the U.S. stands at 459,165, and of those, 16,570 have lost their lives.) 

Initially, the reunion special was confirmed via concurrent announcements on all six of the Friends’ Instagram accounts on February 21, with a lovely throwback photo and a tagline which said, ‘It’s happening…’ 

Consolation prize: Instead, the platform will offer up the full 10-season Friends series for streaming upon its launch

Consolation prize: Instead, the platform will offer up the full 10-season Friends series for streaming upon its launch

And after Jennifer Aniston broke the app from simply joining Instagram in October, the response to the news was obviously huge and enthusiastic.

Filming of the special was scheduled to begin in late March on Stage 24 of the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, California – where the original series was filmed – but as of last month production has been pushed to May at the earliest.

And with the state of productions and business in general remaining up in the air at present, there is no new premiere date set for the reunion as of yet. 

We miss them: The delay of the reunion was crushing but expected news, as all television and film productions have ground to a halt amid efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus

We miss them: The delay of the reunion was crushing but expected news, as all television and film productions have ground to a halt amid efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus

While rumors of the potential reunion had been bandied about since as early as last fall, the delay in making the Friends special a reality was reportedly due to feverish contract negotiations between each of the actors, who all wanted more money to appear in the one-hour, unscripted special.

Ellen DeGeneres has also been passed around as a potential host for the television event, which will see the actors – who are still close – reminisce about their time together on the show. 

HBO Max, meanwhile, is still scheduled to launch as planned next month, with offerings covering the entire HBO catalog, all content under the Warner Bros. banner, and now, all episodes of Friends.

Still to come: Filming of the special was scheduled to begin in late March on Stage 24 of the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank – where the original series was filmed

Still to come: Filming of the special was scheduled to begin in late March on Stage 24 of the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank – where the original series was filmed

Historic: After Jennifer Aniston broke Instagram for simply joining in October, the response to the news of the reunion was obviously huge and enthusiastic

Historic: After Jennifer Aniston broke Instagram for simply joining in October, the response to the news of the reunion was obviously huge and enthusiastic

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk