The unscripted "Friends" reunion special that was originally scheduled to help launch HBO Max in May, but was later delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been pushed back again.
"Unfortunately it's very sad that we had to move it again," Emmy Award-winner Jennifer Aniston, 51, one of the hit sitcom's ensemble, told Deadline.com after trade magazines Friday reported the new delay. While the idea remains to film before a live audience, she said, "This is not a safe time. Period. That's the bottom line. It's not a safe time to do it."
Warner Bros. Television, the show's production company along with Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, had announced the reunion special on Feb. 21. But days before the shoot was to take place March 23-24 at the sitcom's original stage in Burbank, California, it was pushed to an undetermined date.
Then in May, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt told Variety, "We're holding out for being able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer. 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."
The following month, HBO Max executive Sarah Aubrey, when asked when the shoot might be rescheduled, told The Hollywood Reporter, "You're asking me to extrapolate what the conditions in L.A. are going to be in August, and that's a fool's errand."
Despite the further delay, Aniston told Deadline that the eventual special was "going to be super. You know what? This has also given us more time to make it even more exciting and more fun than it would have been. So I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed. Look, we're not going anywhere. You're never going to get rid of 'Friends,' sorry. You're stuck with us for life, guys."
Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer played six close-knit friends/roommates/lovers in Manhattan on the 1994-2004 NBC hit, which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002.
None of the stars has commented on social media about the new delay, nor has Warner Bros. Television or the show's official social-media accounts.