The popular ’90s sitcom Friends will return to NBC for a two-hour tribute special to director James Burrows, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt confirmed at a Television Critics Association panel on 13 January 2016.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the planned Friends reunion will feature all six core cast members as part of a larger retrospective involving multiple programs:
The special is a tribute to Friends‘ legendary comedy director James Burrows, who also helmed iconic series such as Taxi, The Bob Newhart Show, and Cheers. Burrows directed 15 episodes of Friends, including the pilot, and recently shot his 1,000th episode of television.
While the special is about Burrows, the reunion of the cast of Friends — which launched in 1994 and ran for 10 seasons — is obviously the key buzzy highlight. All six original cast members (Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer) are on board.
What’s not clear is whether the Friends reunion-inclusive special will entail all of those actors reprising their roles, together:
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the reunion at a Television Critics Association panel on Wednesday. “I shouldn’t go into detail,” he said. “I’m hoping that all six of them will be there in the same room at the same time. I don’t know if logistically we can pull that off.” NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy later confirmed that the each of the original six stars — Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer — will participate in the special in some form. The details, however, have not been revealed.
Although fans have clamored for a Friends reunion for years, the planned retrospective focused on several television classics and wasn’t Friends-specific. The program is set to air on 21 February 2016.