Better binge as much of the Central Perk gang on Netflix while you can: Friends is likely heading to WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service soon, the streamer’s boss says.
“You can expect the crown jewels of Warner” — referring to hit shows like Friends and The Big Bang Theory — “will ultimately end up on the new service,” WarnerMedia chief creative officer Kevin Reilly told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday. (In fact, both those shows were specifically included in the service’s promotional materials.) And he’s not planning on sharing them with Netflix or any other competitors, either: “Sharing destination assets is not a good model. My belief is they should be exclusive to the service.”
Along with those hit sitcoms, the WarnerMedia streaming service — which still doesn’t have a name or a price point, but is set to launch in beta form by the end of the year — has its eye on CW shows like The Flash, Arrow and Riverdale that currently make Netflix their streaming home. The CW’s output deal with Netflix expires this spring, Reilly points out, and “we’re very interested in putting that on our platform.”
The unnamed service will also offer access to HBO programming and the Warner Bros. library of theatrical films. Original programming is planned as well, but won’t start rolling out until next year.
Friends, which originally aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004, has been available to stream on Netflix since 2015. The streamer recently paid a reported $100 million to keep Friends through the end of this year — but that agreement is non-exclusive, allowing WarnerMedia’s new service to add Friends as soon as it launches.