The Friends reunion was supposed to happen with the launch of HBO Max in two weeks but has now been pushed back because of the pandemic. Since then though, everything and everyone is reuniting virtually. The latest reunion was Back To The Future which just happened yesterday courtesy Josh Gad.
Friends and Warner Bros, however, remain committed to reuniting the traditional way and making it a true “television event”, with the six cast members getting back together on the original Friends soundstage. And I guess you can appreciate why they want to make it happen this way since digital content is pretty much free and there’s so much money on the table already with talent fees already negotiated and subscriber earnings potentially affected. WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt updated Variety yesterday on the Friends reunion plans:
“At first we thought, shows will be delayed for a month or two at the most, and now it seems like it’s going to be far longer than that,” Greenblatt told Variety‘s Cynthia Littleton on Monday. “We’re holding out for being able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer, if the stars align and hopefully we can get back into production. We do think there’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together and we didn’t want to just suddenly do it on a web call with, you know, six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms.”
But Greenblatt did say that if the current stay-at-home conditions continue indefinitely, that the reunion “may go more to a virtual route, if it is delayed too long.”
“But at the moment, we’re trying to look to the future and get this thing done in a more conventional way, and I think it’s worth waiting for,” he said. “We would have loved to have had it on [HBO Max on] Day One, but at the same time, if we can get it launched in the fall, I think it’ll be something that we can have the audience really looking forward to as well.”
So now the new plan is to shoot by the end of summer and drop the reunion in the fall. Which could work in terms of marking anniversaries. Friends premiered on September 22, 1994. September 22 this year is a Tuesday, not a Thursday which of course was the Friends day of the week, but that’s also the week that the fall television schedule typically kicks off, you know, in normal times. In normal times, the Emmys happen and then shows start airing new episodes. The Emmys this year are supposed to happen on September 20. As of today, there’s been no word about cancellation although, obviously, it’s not looking good. Even if restrictions are lifted, we still don’t know how willing people are going to be to gather in huge groups like that. As in sitting in an auditorium with hundreds of other people for hours.
Where the Emmys are concerned, Jennifer Aniston is expected to be a contender for The Morning Show since the series premiered after last year’s Emmys and she’s the reigning SAG Best TV Drama Actress winner. So if that’s how the Friends reunion is timed, right off the Emmys and Jen’s potential win, September 22 is looking better and better. That date hasn’t been mentioned at all but, you know, I think my idea is excellent.
And it’s given me an excuse to indulge in some Gossip Nostalgia about Jen and the Emmys. Specifically the Emmys in 1999. She showed up with Brad Pitt and… well… do you remember her hair? It was the dreadlocks hairstyle. Not a look that aged well.
Jen and Brad started dating in 1998 and they’d been seen together on multiple occasions prior to that but the 1999 Emmys was their first awards red carpet as a couple. You can imagine the frenzy – Friends was about to kick off its fifth season, Jen was America’s Sweetheart dating America’s Movie Star. A couple of months after this, they confirmed their engagement on stage at a Sting concert. And they were married the following year in July. We’re actually two months away from what would have been their 20th anniversary.
Speaking of 20th anniversaries, we just passed the 20th anniversary of Erin Brockovich in March, and Jen and Brad actually showed up to the premiere of Erin Brockovich.
This moment in Gossip Nostalgia was brought to you by the cinematic gem known as Rock Star, starring Marky Mark Wahlberg – because Jen’s hair in the photo above reminds me of the movie, just without the bangs.