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‘Friends’ Cast Returning to NBC in February – But No ‘Reunion’

UPDATED: Your favorite “Friends” will be back on NBC one last time this February, network president Bob Greenblatt announced during his executive session at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Wednesday morning.

NBC is hoping that all six members of the “Friends” cast — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — will appear in a two-hour special dedicated to the career of veteran comedy director James Burrows, which will air Sunday, Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. on NBC. Burrows directed fifteen episodes of the iconic sitcom, including “The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break,” which launched one of the show’s most memorable quotes.

But there’s a caveat — while the six stars are expected to participate, they won’t all be together for the special — Matthew Perry is currently in London for rehearsals of his play, “The End of Longing,” which begins previews on February 2 at the Playhouse Theatre and marks the thesp’s playwriting debut. The actor may instead contribute a taped segment.

“Matthew will not be attending as he is in London in rehearsals for his play, The End of Longing,” says Lisa Kasteler, his spokeswoman. “NBC executives were aware of this prior to their (Television Critics Association) announcement” Wednesday.  “Matthew may tape something for the tribute.  In other words, this is not the reunion people have been hoping for.”

Greenblatt admitted that the details were still being ironed out for the cast reunion. “I’m hoping all six will be in the same room at same time,” he hedged, but cautioned, “I’m not sure we can logistically can pull it off.”

Burrows helmed episodes for a number of other pop culture touchstones, including “Cheers,” “Taxi,” “Mary Tyler Moore,” “The Bob Newhart Show” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Frasier,” “Will & Grace” and the pilot for “The Big Bang Theory.” He recently directed his 1000th episode of television — NBC’s midseason comedy “Crowded.” Cast members from his other shows are also expected to be part of the special, but the inclusion of the “Friends” cast will be a particular draw for TV fans who have been hungry for a reunion since the beloved sitcom left the air in 2004.

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