While it isn’t actually a Friends reunion, many are calling the upcoming NBC special to celebrate the career of director James Burrows just that since it could be the first time the entire cast has all gotten together since the popular sitcom ended in 2004. And we are getting a first glimpse into the special, as Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny on The Big Bang Theory, another popular NBC sitcom that Burrows has worked on, posted a photo to her Instagram account that shows five of the six Friends reunited.
The photo, clearly taken from a sit-down dinner portion of the celebration, shows David Schwimmer (Ross), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), and Matt Leblanc (Joey) posing around the table along with cast members from The Big Bang Theory, including Jim Parsons (Sheldon), Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Simon Helberg (Howard), and Cuoco herself. MIA? Matthew Perry, who played Chandler on Friends.
Bob Greenblatt, President of NBC, confirmed early on that it may not logistically be possible to have all six Friends in the room at the same time. Perry is currently gearing up to star in a play in London called The End of Longing. Officially opening on February 2, that could explain his absence.
It was well known that Perry suffered from substance abuse issues during part of the filming of the show in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. During a recent appearance on BBC Radio 2, Perry admitted that he can’t remember a whole three years of the show because of his issues with substance abuse.
While Perry may only manage to make an appearance through separate filming, the two-hour special will feature not only the Friends cast paying tribute to Burrows’ 40 year career, but also others from the long list of shows Burrows helped make famous, including Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Mary Tyler Moore, and The Bob Newhart Show, among others.
The special will air on NBC on February 21 at 9 p.m.