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Delayed Friends reunion holding out for live audience over remote event

Delayed Friends reunion holding out for live audience over remote event
The cast of Friends appears in the photo room at the 54th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on September 22, 2002. From the left are, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox Arquette, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc.
PHOTO: Reuters

LOS ANGELES - Fans may have to wait until the fall for the Friends reunion special as HBO Max executives are holding out hopes of filming it before a live audience rather than shooting the much-anticipated get together remotely with stars under quarantine.

Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, which is launching the HBO Max streaming service on May 27, said on Monday he thought it was worth waiting until the one-off unscripted show could be filmed in a traditional way.

The reunion, dreamed of by fans for years, was supposed to have helped launch HBO Max, but the coronavirus epidemic shut down production across Hollywood before it could be filmed.

“We are holding out to be able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer.

"We do think there’s a value to having a raucous live audience experience these six great friends coming back together,” Greenblatt told Hollywood outlet Variety in an interview.

“We didn’t want to just do it suddenly on a web call, or six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms,” Greenblatt added.

Shows such as Saturday Night Live and a reunion of Parks and Recreation have put together episodes by recording stars in their homes.

Friends, starring Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry, ended in 2004 after 10 years, but it remains one of the most popular shows in re-runs.

“If this (coronavirus) goes on indefinitely, we may go the virtual route,” Greenblatt said. “But at the moment we are trying to look to the future and get this thing done in a more conventional way.

“If we launch it in the fall, I think it will be something that will have the audience looking forward to,” he added.

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