Lisa Kudrow Reveals Why Shutting Down The “FRIENDS” Reunion Was Painful

Lisa Kudrow has been making her rounds doing interviews and sit-downs (virtually) with her new Netflix comedy ‘Space Force’ having made its debut and of course, she’s been asked about FRIENDS. From throwbacks to addressing the delay of the reunion special, she has been blessing fans with nuggets of information on the iconic group. However, not all news has been good. In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Kudrow called the delay in production (but of the FRIENDS reunion and productions in general) “painful”.


“We shut down the Friends reunion, which was painful. I feel bad for everyone who was working and now is not working. That’s the part that makes me really nervous.”



She goes on to say how she made a few calls before the stay-at-home order had been announced and one of them was to the executive producer of the special, Ben Winston, to confirm if there was a Plan B for the reunion. Winston had no alternative, however. The HBO Max special was initially set to be a one-off episode, filed in the original set at Burbank with the same setting of a live studio audience.


I have to be honest: I was getting nervous at the very beginning of March, before there was a stay-at-home order. I called [executive producer] Ben Winston and asked if he had any contingencies that he was thinking about — like, were there other versions of this? He was like, ‘No, it’s going to be fine!’ And then everything started shutting down, one by one. We all got on the phone and said it had to shut down. People threw out [other] dates, which have come and gone. But we were really trying to be able to do it as soon as we could.”


With the number of cases rising and the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the world, the reunion episode still remains uncertain. Kudrow mentioned how people have been rushing to shoot whatever they’ve been able to this might cause a spike in cases. For now, they are looking at an August/September date. In terms of a remote reunion, ala Zoom – as many shows have been doing over the course of the quarantine – Kudrow says there would be no point and it would be taking away some of the excitement.


We haven’t all been in the same room in front of people — I mean, we have privately once many years ago but that’s it. The whole point of this is to be in the same room. That hasn’t changed.”



The WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chair, Bob Greenblatt, also echoed Kudrow’s thoughts in an interview with Variety.


We do think there’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together. We didn’t want to just suddenly do it on a web call with, you know, six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms.”


Whether or not we’d be able to see all the friends on the same Central Perk couch and chairs is also still up in the air. With the set, it would be difficult to have all six friends sharing the same space while maintaining social distancing guidelines. However, Kudrow is hopeful that things will soon return to normal – or as normal as it can be.

“I haven’t heard anything officially, but hopefully there will be tests available so everyone has to be tested for the virus and antibodies before being able to show up for wor. Everyone who checks out, so to speak, can sit next to each other on the couch.”



Here’s to hoping we do get to see the group soon!