Delayed ‘Friends’ reunion special won’t help launch HBO’s streaming service

(LOS ANGELES) — Could they BE any more disappointed? HBO executives who were planning to christen the pay channel’s new streaming service HBO Max with the Friends reunion special now cannot, according to Variety.

It’s not a surprise considering the much-hyped return of Chandler, Joey, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel was part of Hollywood’s COVID-related shutdown.

To date, there’s no exact date set for the launch of HBO Max, save it will launch in May.

The network will still boast access to all 10 seasons of the NBC show, which at one time made its stars, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, and Jennifer Aniston the highest-paid actors in television history.

The delay of the Friends reunion, which reportedly cost HBO $2 million per star, was to be shot on the show’s original set, the trade notes, meaning it couldn’t be filmed remotely, as other shows have been doing in light of social distancing rules.

Incidentally, the cast members’ salaries are peanuts relative to the $400 million the streaming service paid to secure the rights to their sitcom.

The streaming service also paid handsomely for the rights to The Big Bang Theory, and will be the streaming home of other series in HBO’s library, like Game of Thrones.

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