Everything we know about the 'Friends' reunion special so far: release date, celebrity appearances and how much the cast will earn

Can you guess which stars will make a cameo in the episode?

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It's the one everybody's been talking about for years: one of TV's most beloved shows will be revived for a one-off special on HBO Max.

After repeated delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it has now been announced that the highly anticipated Friends reunion special will be broadcast on May 27.

The show, which starred Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc as twenty-somethings living in New York City, ended in 2004 after 10 years and 236 episodes, but it remains one of the most popular TV shows in reruns.

Take a look through the photo gallery above to see some memorable scenes from the series.

So what's this new special all about? What can we expect from Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey when they re-enter our lives after a nearly 16-year hiatus?

Here's everything we know about the Friends reunion so far.

How can you watch it?

Jennifer Aniston revealed on Instagram that the Friends reunion will be broadcast on May 27.

It will be shown by streaming platform HBO Max in the US.

It looks like Sky may secure the UK rights to the air the special, sources told industry publication Deadline on Monday, May 17.

The actress, who played Rachel in the hit show, shared the details of the reunion alongside the message: “Could we BE any more excited?!”

She included a short video of the six cast members with their arms around each other walking away from the camera at what appeared to be the Warner Bros studio lot. It was captioned, “The one where they get back together”.

The famous I'll Be There For You theme song plays gently in the background.

What celebrities will make an appearance?

"We're going to need a bigger couch," HBO Max joked on its Twitter account when revealing the list of guest appearances to be expected from the reunion.

Names include David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Lady Gaga, Kit Harington, Mindy Kaling and even Malala Yousafzai.

Former Friends actors will also make an appearance, including Elliott Gould, who played Monica and Ross's father; Christina Pickles, who played the siblings' mother; Reese Witherspoon, who was Jill Green, Rachel's sister; and Tom Selleck, who took on the role of Richard Burke, Monica's love interest.

What is it about?

This will not be another 22- to 23-minute episode about the trials and tribulations of the show's six characters. In fact, the stars won't even be in character and instead the one-off unscripted special will be in a talk-show format.

Kudrow, who played musician and masseuse Phoebe Buffay, shared the only details she's allowed to in conversation with Conan O'Brien on May 13.

"Joined by special guests, we all – the cast – returned to the original soundstage, Stage 24 on the Warner Bros studio lot, for an unscripted reunion special in celebration of the show."

She previously shared details with Rob Lowe during an episode of his podcast, Literally! With Rob Lowe. "It is not a reboot, it is not like a scripted thing, we are not portraying our characters.

FRIENDS -- "The One After the Superbowl" (Part 1) Episode 12 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay  (Photo by Brian D. McLaughlin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***  op03de-tv-kudrow.jpg
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay. Getty Images

"It is us getting together, which just doesn't happen and has never happened in front of other people since 2004 when we stopped."

She confirmed the six actors would be "talking in a coffee house room" and that "some sets will be up".

Will it take place in front of a studio audience?

Yes. Filming took place last month on the show's original soundstage on the Warner Bros lot in Burbank, California, in front of a live audience.

Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman told ET in August that she wanted to wait to film until a studio audience could be involved.

"We all want it to happen," she told the publication. "We just have to wait until it is safe. This is a show that is not scripted, but this is the way the show works – we are going to need a live audience. Even if we socially distance that live audience, it really is a huge part of what Friends is... We cannot do it without them," she said. "Everyone is all in and we are just waiting for that time when it feels connected to bring in a live audience."

FRIENDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Courteney Cox Arquette as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller  -- (Photo by Reisig & Taylor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***  al13ma-marta-kauffman03.jpg
When 'Friends' first showed on television, the cast were unknown actors. NBC via Getty Images

Former WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt also said to Variety in May 2020: "We do think there's a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together," he said. "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."

Who will be hosting the show?

In his SiriusXM interview, Schwimmer didn't quite share who would be hosting the talk show-style special, but he did say who wouldn't be.

"I don't know if I can say, actually," the American Crime Story actor said. "I should have found that out. I apologise. I can tell you it's not Ellen [DeGeneres], it's not Billy Crystal. Andy, is it you?" To which the host replied: "Oh, my God, I wish it was!"

The actual host remains a mystery.

Who else is involved?

As well as the main Friends cast and celebrity guess appearances, show creators Kevin Bright, Kauffman and David Crane are also executive producing.

The show ran for 10 years and 236 episodes. Photo by Warner Bros Television
The show ran for 10 years and 236 episodes. Photo by Warner Bros Television

Ben Winston, who has worked on The Late Late Show with James Corden and the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special, will be directing the show.

How much are the cast getting paid?

When the show was first announced, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the cast, who all negotiated together, will earn more than double their former per-episode fee for the reunion. That's between $2.5 million and $3m.

Back when the original show was being shot, the cast famously renegotiated their salaries together to earn $1m per episode.

Will it be worth the wait?

Anniston certainly thinks so. "It's going to be super," she told Deadline in August. "You know what? The delay has also given us more time to make it even more exciting and more fun than it would have been. So I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed.

"Look, we're not going anywhere. You're never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You're stuck with us for life, guys."