'Friends' will 'be there for you' in Netflix streaming deal

Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:54am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Friends" may have wrapped up ten years ago, but Ross, Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey will appear on Netflix beginning in January, Warner Bros. TV and the online Internet-streaming service said on Wednesday.

All 236 episodes of the popular NBC 10-season series, one of the most-watched U.S. shows of all time, will be available for streaming in the United States and Canada on the subscription service beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

The show launched the careers of actors Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow, and made them household names.

Netflix announced the deal with a music video of the show's hit theme song "I'll Be There for You" performed by pop duo the Rembrandts at the show's local coffee hangout, Central Perk. The cafe was installed as a pop-up in New York this month to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the "Friends" premiere.

"Friends," which aired its final episode on May 6, 2004, has previously only been available in broadcast and cable television syndication in the United States.

The agreement is the latest step taken by Netflix to attract subscribers in the premium-TV market as its main competitor, Time Warner's HBO, also announced Wednesday that it would launch its own stand-alone streaming service.

Netflix, like HBO, began as a subscription movie service, but has also branched out into high-production TV series, talk shows and original movies.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Bernadette Baum)

The cast of "Friends" appears in the photo room at the 54th annual Emmy
Awards in Los Angeles September 22, 2002. REUTERS/Mike Blake