The launch of the HBO Max streaming service in May was planned to be an illustrious affair, announcing the arrival of WarnerMedia on to the digital landscape. A big part of the celebration was the planned Friends Reunion Special. But according to a report by Variety, the special has now been officially scrapped from their launch lineup.

The Friends special was originally intended to bring together the main cast of the show for a one-hour unscripted reunion episode which was to be filmed on the show's original lot in Burbank. The recent lockdown conditions necessitated the postponement of the filming of the special, and now, with social quarantine conditions looking unlikely to change for the immediate future, WarnerMedia has decided to remove the project from their initial launch lineup.

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While the special may still see the light of day somewhere down the line, the launch of HBO Max will have to make do without it. However, all 10 seasons of Friends, which WarnerMedia reportedly paid $400 million to buy the streaming rights to, will be available on the platform when it debuts online next month.

Fans will no doubt be disappointed by the news. Despite ending more than 15 years ago, Friends continues to enjoy tremendous popularity worldwide, the likes of which has not been seen on cable tv since, even by shows The Big Bang Theory or Game of Thrones. The main cast from Friends, which includes David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, and Courtney Cox, went on to work on other films and shows but were forever asked by interviewers and fans alike about the possibility of a Friends reunion or reboot.

Despite initially resisting the idea, and insisting that the show was about a particular time in a young person's life that they no longer inhabited, rumors began to swirl last year that HBO was in talks with the cast for a comeback of sorts. After various speculations that the show was going to be remade with a new cast, or catch up with the original characters in their middle age, the announcement was made that HBO Max would be hosting an unscripted get-together special with the original cast.

WarnerMedia was willing to pay humongous amounts to the actors to basically hang out in one spot for an hour and reminisce about the old days, but the investment seemed to be worth it, considering the amount of social media attention the news got from around the world. The prospect of seeing the old gang together once again was enough to make many viewers signup for the streaming service just to watch the special.

Now fans will have to console themselves by rewatching the old episodes of the show, that most already know by heart. Apart from Friends, HBO Max will offer a wide range of programming, including most of the series and films from HBO and Warner Bros. personal library. This news comes from Variety

Neeraj Chand