Friends Reunion Special Delayed Due To COVID-19 Outbreak

The much-anticipated reunion special for HBO Max has delayed filming to a later point in the year due to the crisis.

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One of the most-anticipated TV specials ever, the Friends reunion for HBO Max, is facing a delay due to the COVID-19 crisis. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has decided to delay the previously scheduled March shoot due to concerns around the virus.

"Given the current state of the global coronavirus pandemic, production has been delayed until at least May," the site reported.

One of the sticking points with getting the Friends reunion off the ground was the challenge of aligning each of the six star's schedules. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer are also attached to in-development TV and movie projects, some of which have also been delayed due to the virus. Whether or not this could cause further delays is unknown.

The delay comes amid "social distancing" protocols that call on people to not assemble in groups larger than 50. THR says that most TV and movie productions have "hundreds" of people on set at once, when factoring in all cast and crew members.

When filming on the unscripted Friends reunion special does resume, it will take place on Stage 24 at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, which is the same stage used for the original TV show.

The Friends reunion special will be an hour-long unscripted show starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer. Friends creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman are also involved in the reunion. This is not a new scripted series like the original show, but instead a one-off reunion of some kind. The format of the show is unclear, and it's also unknown if the actors will be in character.

The six core stars are getting massive pay-days for for the reunion special, with each set to receive between $2.5 million and $3 million to appear. Friends remains hugely popular, with DVD and digital sales surging while the series is off streaming services for the time being.

The producer of James Corden's late night TV show, Ben Winston, will direct the Friends reunion special. The show was scheduled to be available at launch for HBO Max in May, but will likely air at a later date now.

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