Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Don't panic! "Friends" will still be there for you on Netflix

Don't panic!

This wasn't entirely out of the blue-WarnerMedia intends to launch its own streaming service at the end of 2019, and most assumed that Warner Bros TV-owned Friends would be a major part of that service at launch.

Social media was in an uproar over the weekend after it appeared that Friends would be leaving Netflix in January 2019, with fans seriously freaking out over the potential loss of their favorite sitcom. WarnerMedia, the company that owns Friends, is developing its own streaming service and wants Friends for itself because it's an incredibly valuable property; by one estimate, it's still the third-most popular comedy in America, nearly fifteen years after it went off the air.

That's because there had been a notice on the streaming platform saying episodes would only be available until January 1st, 2019.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Netflix will pay around $100 million to parent company WarnerMedia to keep the show another year - $30 million a year more than what it was paying before.

If you're a Friends fan who already has Netflix, what's the incentive to add on another subscription service just to get more of the same?

And Netflix's chief content officer himself has gone on the record about the matter, with Ted Sarandos telling The Hollywood Reporter that Friends' "departure is a rumor". Re-runs still air in the USA on TBS and other channels.

The NBC sitcom ran for 10 seasons from 1994-2004 and still enjoys a healthy life in syndication.

However: An executive familiar with the show's contract told USA Today there aren't immediate plans for Netflix to drop the show. Indeed, while Netflix's renewal of the license allows them to keep Friends in their library at least through the end of 2019, exclusivity is not guaranteed for the length of the deal.

While fans have demanded a reboot of the show over the years, creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane have said a reboot will 'never happen'.

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