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‘Friends’ reunion show on HBO Max delayed due to the coronavirus

Published Mar 19th, 2020 9:12PM EDT
Friends Reunion Show
Image: Warner Bros.

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  • HBO Max is a new streaming service set to launch in May of 2020.
  • Amidst a slew of streaming services, HBO Max was hoping that a highly-anticipated ‘Friends’ reunion show would help it make a big splash and hit the ground running.
  • The ‘Friends’ reunion show has since been delayed on account of the coronavirus. With the U.S. still working hard to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading, every Hollywood production is effectively on an indefinite hiatus.
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While you can make a strong case arguing that the last thing we need is yet another streaming service, AT&T’s HBO Max actually sounds compelling. Aside from offering users the expected stable of HBO content, HBO Max will also offer up original programming and shows from the likes of Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, TNT, TBS, truTV, the Cartoon Network, and more.

Beyond that HBO Max will also be the place where subscribers can enjoy all six seasons (148 episodes worth!) of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a classic 90s comedy that has been conspicuously absent from streaming platforms. Still, there’s no question that the biggest show coming to HBO Max is Friends, the popular NBC show that enjoyed renewed popularity when it was on Netflix for a couple of years.

Though Friends was one of Netflix’s most-streamed programs, it left Netflix’s catalog this past December. With HBO Max set to debut in May of this year — and it remains to be seen if the coronavirus has any impact on the launch — the new streaming service was poised to make a huge splash with a highly anticipated ‘Friends’ reunion special.

As it turns out, the reunion has been put on hold on account of the coronavirus effectively putting every production in Hollywood on indefinite hold. The Hollywood Reporter notes:

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the unscripted special was set to be filmed next Monday and Tuesday on the show’s iconic and former home at Stage 24 of the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank. Given the current state of the global coronavirus pandemic, production has been delayed until at least May. A formal filming date has not been determined as it’s unclear when any programming will be able to resume production.

This is clearly a blow for HBO Max given that any new streaming service needs to make a big splash at launch. Indeed, we saw how the popularity of The Mandalorian on Disney+ helped boost subscribers a few months ago. Incidentally, Apple TV+ has released a stable of seemingly compelling shows, but they still lack that must-see program that gets the masses talking.

At this rate, it remains unclear if the Friends reunion will impact the launch of HBO Max or if the reunion will just air a few months later than initially planned.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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