‘Friends’ cast mulls skein finale feelings

Producers, stars refuse to discuss last episode

They won’t be there for you much longer — and the cast and executive producers of NBC’s “Friends” met the press one last time Tuesday.

The mood was rather somber at Warner Bros. Studio’s Stage 24, as the six “Friends” stars (Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox Arquette and Matt LeBlanc) and exec producers David Crane, Marta Kauffman and Kevin Bright were asked a mix of inquiries about how the show will wrap — and a few touchy-feely questions about their emotional state.

With a week and a half left before the curtain falls for good, Aniston compared the cast to “very delicate china,” while castmate Kudrow called it a “deeper loss than I was expecting — a deep-down loss.”

Crane, Kauffman and Bright said they watched several final episodes of classic sitcoms as they prepared to pen the final “Friends” seg.

The producers and cast refused to discuss the finale’s plotline; Kauffman said only that it was important that the last episode still feel like a regular installment of “Friends.”

To keep the finale plotline top secret — a tough order, given that it won’t air for another five months — several scenes will be shot without an audience and with a skeleton crew.

Of course, the show will sort of go on, as LeBlanc prepares to continue his role on the fall Peacock spinoff “Joey.” But LeBlanc and Bright (who will serve as an exec producer) brushed off questions about the sequel.

“Talking about ‘Joey’ is right now inappropriate,” Bright said. “The end of ‘Friends’ will not be used as a setup for the pilot of ‘Joey.’ ”

LeBlanc, meanwhile, admitted it was “uncomfortable” right now to think about continuing in the role post-“Friends.”

For NBC honcho Jeff Zucker, it was the second consecutive day he had to attend a press conference regarding the retirement of one of his linchpin comedies. The exec heads into the next fall sans both “Friends” and “Frasier.”

“There’s nothing that will replace ‘Friends,’ ” Zucker said. “Nothing can. It’s an exciting but sad time to see this show go.”

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