The 'Friends' reunion special is tantalisingly close to reality

Ben Arnold
Friends (Credit: NBC)

What Friends fans have dreamed of is edging closer to reality.

According to Deadline, a deal between the hit show's original cast and HBO is close, with an 'unscripted reunion special' set for HBO's forthcoming streaming platform HBO Max.

Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry have apparently 'reached an agreement in principle' with Warner Bros to reprise their roles as Rachel, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, Joey and Chandler.

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The show would take the form of an hour-long show, and Deadline reckons that each star is being paid between $3 million and $4 million (£2.3 and £3 million).

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Courteney Cox Arquette as Monica Geller (Credit: NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

It would be a marketing coup for the new platform, with the availability of the entire Friends back catalogue being one of its key attractions for when it launches later this year.

Matthew Perry has already hinted that the news is about to be confirmed, tweeting:

It's also thought that Marta Kauffman and David Crane, who created the series, will be involved in some capacity, however, they have been adamant in the past that there would not be any kind of reunion.

During a panel event to mark the show's 25th anniversary at the Tribeca TV Festival in September last year, Kauffman said: “We will not be doing a reunion show, we will not be doing a reboot. The show was about that time in life when friends are your family.

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“And a reboot? No. It’s not going to beat what we did.”

HBO paid a healthy $425 million to scoop the rights to stream the show from Netflix, which has counted it among its biggest shows.

Friends first aired on NBC in 1994, running over 10 series and 236 episodes.

52 million people in the US watched the show's finale in May, 2004.