Why is Friends leaving Netflix? Beloved sitcom moving to HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s new streaming service

Friends, starring Jennifer Aniston
Beloved sitcom Friends is leaving Netflix for WarnerMedia’s new streaming service HBO Max. Pic credit: Warner Bros. TV

Friends, the beloved sitcom from the ’90s and early 2000s, is leaving Netflix and moving to HBO Max — WarnerMedia’s new direct-to-customer streaming service — when it launches in the spring of 2020.

The news comes after Netflix renewed its deal with Warner Bros. TV to hold exclusive streaming rights to the show until the end of 2019.

Netflix reportedly paid Warner Bros. TV $80 million-$100 million for rights to continue streaming the show through 2019, although WarnerMedia is expected to launch HBO Max in beta later in 2019.

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The move of Friends from Netflix isn’t unexpected.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (AT&T owns WarnerMedia) previously announced WarnerMedia would launch its own streaming service and it would claim exclusive rights to its popular shows, including Friends.

WarnerMedia executive Kevin Reilly also shared in February that Friends was leaving Netflix and moving to their planned streaming platform.

When HBO Max launches in early 2020, it will compete directly with streaming services Netflix and Hulu, as well as upcoming services such as Disney+.

The streaming service will be the exclusive home of all episodes of Friends.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, sources revealed WarnerMedia outbid Netflix, paying $425 million ($85 million per year), to hold exclusive streaming rights to Friends for five years.

“We’re sorry to see ‘Friends’ go to Warner’s streaming service at the beginning of 2020 (in the US),” Netflix tweeted after WarnerMedia’s announcement. “Thanks for the memories, gang.”

HBO Max will also exclusively stream all episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Pretty Little Liars.

HBO Max will also exclusively stream new original Warner Bros. Entertainment shows produced for The CW, such as Batwoman and the Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene.

Others that are currently streaming on Netflix, such as Riverdale and The Flash, will continue until they end their runs on Netflix.

HBO Max will also feature other originals from TNT, TBS, and truTV, as well as New Line, DC Universe, Cartoon Network, and Crunchyroll.

In addition, the new streaming service will feature new originals, such as Tokyo Vice starring Ansel Elgort, Love Life executive produced by Anna Kendrick, The Flight Attendant by Kaley Cuoco, and an upcoming animated Gremlins series, titled Secrets of the Mogwai.

HBO Max will also stream content from HBO, including Game of Thrones.

Meanwhile, WarnerMedia entered into a deal with Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Riverdale, Blindspot) and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine (Gone Girl, Wild) for new original features.

The latest news comes after Monsters and Critics reported that The Office is leaving Netflix and moving to NBC’s streaming service in 2021 after NBCUniversal announced it secured exclusive rights to stream the hit show.

NBC’s new streaming service is also scheduled to launch in 2020.

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