2019 marks the 25th anniversary of seminal sitcom Friends, and the resulting avalanche of commemoration pieces will either fill you with glee as a former fan or make you gnash your teeth as a current hater. Given the current penchant for classic sitcom reboots—especially from NBC alums like Will & Grace and Mad About You—and the anticipation that arises every time one of the original six cast members appears on a talk show, what are the odds of the original Friends returning?
As The New York Times reports today: Very low. In an interview with the creators, the Times unspools several reasons why Friends won’t go the same “we’re back” route of popular sitcoms like Fuller House and Roseanne. For example, Friends’ core ensemble have spun off onto wildly different career paths, with Jennifer Aniston currently set to return to series work with Apple TV Plus’ new Morning Show and David Schwimmer returning to his beloved stage work while showing up in series like American Crime Story and films like Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat.
Also, from a purely creative standpoint, the whole premise of the show makes less sense now that these characters are in their fifties instead of their twenties. Co-creator David Crane says that “he remains loyal to the motto they pitched to NBC in 1994: ‘It’s that time in your life when your friends are your family.’” Added longtime Friends writer Greg Malins, “You’re just going to get slammed, criticized and hated. The headline for every review [would be] ‘This Is No Friends.’”
Lastly, the main reason behind reboots—profit—isn’t really applicable as Friends continues to rake it in 10 years after it went off the air. The Times notes that “Friends is still minting money as a streaming hit,” with Netflix having paid $100 million for it to stay on its platform for another year. Soon, the show will move to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max platform, which makes a reboot even less likely. “It’s like winning the lottery and then buying more tickets,” Crane said. “Why? You won!”
So the creators behind the scenes are not very Friends-reunion-minded, despite what the cast might exude on Good Morning America or The Tonight Show. “I think it’s casual talk-show stuff,” dismisses Bright. Read more about TV’s least likely reboot at The New York Times today.