Lisa Kudrow Addresses Rumors About Ellen DeGeneres Hosting Friends Reunion
Production on the HBO Max unscripted reunion special has been delayed due to the pandemic
On Monday, the actress, 57, who played Phoebe on the popular sitcom, appeared on Andy Cohen's SiriusXM show Radio Andy to discuss the upcoming, highly anticipated HBO Max reunion. During the chat, Kudrow addressed rumors that Ellen DeGeneres has been tapped to moderate the unscripted TV event, which has since been delayed due to the pandemic.
"I don't know that that's been decided," said Kudrow after Cohen, 52, asked whether it's true DeGeneres, 62, would host the reunion.
The longtime daytime talk show host has been mired in controversy in recent weeks as The Ellen DeGeneres Show faced scandal after allegedly fostering a toxic work environment. DeGeneres has since apologized to her staff, and three top producers have parted ways with the show. Staffers on the show also recently learned that they will now receive increased benefits.
Teasing the premiere of the show's 18th season coming Sept. 21, DeGeneres said in a statement that she will address the controversy on the broadcast. "I can't wait to get back to work and back to our studio," she said, adding, "Yes, we're gonna talk about it."
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As for the Friends reunion, the special is set to reunite the entire cast on the comedy's original soundstage, but due to the ongoing coronavirus shutdown, the production dates have yet to be determined. Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer are all set to participate.
“Unfortunately it’s very sad that we had to move it again,” Aniston, 51, told Deadline last month. “It was, ‘How do we do this with live audiences?’ This is not a safe time. Period. That’s the bottom line. It’s not a safe time to do it.”
“It’s going to be super,” she added at the time. “I choose to see it as the glass is half-full that it got postponed. Look, we’re not going anywhere. You’re never going to get rid of Friends, sorry. You’re stuck with us for life guys.”
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HBO Max first announced the reunion in February, and former WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt previously confirmed in May that the reunion had been pushed back.
"At first we thought shows will be delayed for a month or two at the most, and now it seems like it's going to be far longer than that," he told Variety at the time. "We're holding out for being able to get this special done hopefully by the end of the summer if the stars align and hopefully we can get back into production."
Greenblatt said they still planned on taping the special in front of a live studio audience, just like during the sitcom's 10-season run.
"We do think there's a value to having a big, raucous live audience to experience these six great friends coming back together," he said. "And we didn't want to just suddenly do it on a web call with, you know, six squares and people shooting from their kitchens and bedrooms."
All episodes of Friends are available to stream on HBO Max.