The much-awaited Friends reunion special, previously delayed and due to air this month, could finish filming this summer.
Production on the one-off show for HBO Max was suspended indefinitely in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, affecting many film and TV titles.
The unscripted special was due to air in keeping with the launch of HBO Max on May 27, following a two-day shoot with a live audience on March 23-24.
WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt explained to Variety: “At first we thought, shows will be delayed for a month or two at the most, and now it seems like it’s going to be far longer than that.
“We’re holding out for being able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer if the stars align and hopefully we can get back into production.”
Greenblatt emphasised the importance of having a live audience while filming such a reunion. “We do think there’s a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together and 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,” he explained.
An alternative delivery wasn’t ruled out though, as Greenblatt said the reunion “may go more to a virtual route, if it is delayed too long”.
“But at the moment, we’re trying to look to the future and get this thing done in a more conventional way, and I think it’s worth waiting for.
“We would have loved to have had it on day one, but at the same time, if we can get it launched in the fall, I think it’ll be something that we can have the audience really looking forward to as well.”
The Hollywood Reporter previously noted that the actors will earn more than double their former per-episode fee for the reunion, and will be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million for the special.