Thousands of hearts soared with joy at the news that the Friends cast would be reunited for a tribute to uber-successful sitcom director James Burrows. And almost immediately, hearts plummeted upon learning that at least one cast member, Matthew Perry, probably would not be able to attend in person. There’s no juicy backstory to the decision other than his desire to perform the play he wrote, The End of Longing, at The Playhouse Theatre February 2- May 14 in London. The tribute show is scheduled to air February 21 on NBC; talk about a bummer of a scheduling conflict.
Ever since Friends ended its successful ten year run in 2004, fans have been clamoring for any type of project that would allow Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, Ross and Rachel to come together again. It seemed that dreams might really come true when earlier this week NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the Burrows tribute at the Television Critics Association winter press conference saying, "I'm hoping all six will be in same room at same time, I'm not sure we can logistically can pull it off.” It didn’t take long for the slight hesitancy in his announcement to become the reality.
Not that Matthew Perry is expected to miss the special proceedings entirely— it’s speculated that he may tape a segment to be aired on the show, so all is not completely lost. Friends fans will have to come to grips with that reality and take comfort in the knowledge that at least five of the original cast members may participate and that is a lot better than the big fat nothing they were getting before. Plus, if that’s not enough incentive to tune in, it should be noted that cast members from other famous Burrows directed sitcoms such as Mike & Molly, Taxi, and The Big Bang Theory are expected to appear. So take heart dear fans, it still sounds pretty awesome!
The James Burrows tribute show is being held to celebrate the veteran director's prolific career in television having recently directed his 1,000th episode. The special is scheduled for Sunday, February 21 at 9 pm on NBC.
Matthew, all of us at PopWrapped wish you the very best with your play-writing debut!