Fans can take a break (for now) from freaking out over "Friends" leaving Netflix.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, has denied that the sitcom will be removed from the streaming service, telling The Hollywood Reporter that its "departure is a rumor." According to THR, the note on the show's Netflix page saying that it would be leaving on January 1, 2019 has also been removed.
THR also says, however, that departure dates frequently appear and disappear from Netflix, most likely due to contracts expiring and/or going through renegotiations. Netflix itself didn't have a comment outside of Sarandos's remarks, and Warner Bros., which produces "Friends," did not comment.
While it seems that the original January date is no longer accurate, all signs still point to "Friends" leaving Netflix sometime in the next year, thanks to parent company WarnerMedia launching its own streaming service. That's set to happen in late 2019.
Our original report about fans' distress over the loss of streaming "Friends" is below. Stay tuned to see if/when we get a more concrete departure date.
No one told "Friends" fans life was gonna be this way: The sitcom favorite is leaving Netflix next month.
Over the weekend, Netflix subscribers began noticing warnings from the streaming service that "Friends" was due to be removed from the company's library on January 1, 2019. As you can imagine, the news elicited a collective horrified gasp of "Oh. My. GAWD!"
"Friends" first landed on Netflix back in 2015, and immediately became one of the most-watched series on the streaming service, especially appealing to younger audiences that were in diapers during the show's original run. But as Collider points out, Netflix paid a hefty price to acquire the "Friends" rights, and with its pivot ("PI-VOT!") to more and more original programming, it makes more financial sense to take a break from the sitcom. (Though it seems that fans are even less forgiving than Rachel about this whole "break" situation.)
Another likely factor in this change is the impending launch of "Friends" producer WarnerMedia's own streaming service, of which "Friends" would obviously be a cornerstone. It remains to be seen, however, if fans will really shell out for yet another standalone service, or just hope to catch a "Friends" rerun on one of the many cable channels in which it airs in syndication.
While you mull over whether or not to make yet another withdrawal from your bank account, catch "Friends" on Netflix now, while it's still there for you.