‘Friends’ to bid goodbye to Netflix

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A moment of silence for all Friends fans. US reruns of the popular television sitcom Friends will be moving from Netflix Inc to a new streaming service, HBO Max in 2020.

The service, from AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia is scheduled to launch next spring, and is expected to offer more than a dozen original shows and movies from stars including Reese Witherspoon and Anna Kendrick. Programming from AT&T-owned networks such as HBO and TBS and classics from the Warner Bros film and TV library will also be part of the service.

A subscription price for HBO Max has not yet been announced.

Friends, a TV hit in the 1990s, was the second-most-watched show on Netflix in the United States when measured by minutes streamed, according to Nielsen data for 2018. The most-viewed Netflix show is The Office, which will switch from Netflix to a planned digital offering from Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal in 2021.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix lost Friends in a bidding war with WarnerMedia, which agreed to pay $85 million per year for five years for the show. Netflix reportedly made a Herculean effort to keep the show, spending $80 to $100 million to keep the series for 2019, but couldn’t manage beyond that.

Netflix, in a comment on Twitter, said it was “sorry to see ‘Friends’ go.”

“Thanks for the memories, gang,” the company said.

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