Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

NBC Plans Friends Reunion and Hairspray Musical, Defends Donald Trump Appearances

Could we be more excited?

Joyce Eng

The One with the Reunion is coming.

All six Friends stars -- Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer -- will reunite next month at a tribute for legendary sitcom director James Burrows, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced Wednesday at the Television Critics Association winter previews.

While all six actors will participate in the special, scheduled to air Feb. 21, Greenblatt couldn't yet guarantee that all of them will be in the same room for the first time since the series ended 12 years ago."I'm hoping that all six of them will be in the same room at the same time," he said. "But I'm not sure if we can logistically pull that off."

Burrows directed the Friends pilot and famously took the cast to Las Vegas before the show premiered so they could bond.

The tribute will be produced by Sean Hayes, whom Burrows directed in all 194 episodes of Will & Grace, and will feature stars of other shows Burrows has directed. He has also helmed Cheers (which he also co-created), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Lavern & Shirley, Frasier, NewsRadio, The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls. He recently directed his 1,000th episode of television on NBC's upcoming comedy Crowded.

Here's what else was discussed in the panel:

Donald Trump: NBC severed ties with Trump in June following his disparaging remarks about Mexicans, and the network was criticized when it invited him to host Saturday Night Live five months later, on top of featuring him as a morning show and late-night guest. Greenblatt was quick to make the distinction Wednesday that the network merely ended their business relationships, with the Apprentice franchise and beauty pageants, and frankly didn't expect Trump's campaign to have any legs.

"We wanted to be out of business with him," he said. "That was June, July, when most of us thought he would be, you know, waltzing into the background of the political arena. And lo and behold, he's the frontrunner. The poll numbers are sort of astounding and he's everywhere. ... I think that reconciles quite easily. We're not in business with him, but love it or not, he's one of the most important political figures of our time. I don't think the public was confused [by his hosting of SNL] as much as the press and some special interest groups."

Greenblatt believes the move was worth it despite all the heat NBC took. "At the end of the day, he was on the show for 11 minutes. The Earth didn't fall out of its axis. It was a highly rated show, and that's always a good thing," he said. "If we were in the business of never having anyone guest on the network who had views that disagree with our views, we'd be out of business."

You Can't Stop the Beat: NBC's next live musical, set for December, will be Hairspray. Deals are not done yet, but The Wiz producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan will return. This means The Music Man, for which NBC had secured rights in 2014 before producing The Wiz last year, is sitting on the backburner for now. "People have been saying to me since The Wiz, 'Do this show, do that show,'" Greenblatt said. "I've heard obscure titles and famous titles. Not everything's going to be a big name to the whole audience. I don't think there's an infinite number of these that can be done. But we're still doing it."

Live drama?: NBC produced a live episode of ER 19 years ago, but there are no current plans to do so with any of its current slate. But that's not for lack of effort. NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said she had asked Dick Wolf if he would consider a live episode of one of the Chicago shows. "He said, 'Absolutely not,'" she deadpanned.

Late night: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will visit L.A. the week of Feb. 15. The night before, NBC will air an anniversary special to mark Fallon's two years behind the desk. Meanwhile, NBC has re-upped Seth Meyers to stay at Late Night through 2021.

Will Ricky Gervais return? Gervais has said that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has already asked him to return to host the Golden Globe Awards again next year (and for the fifth time overall), but that's premature announcing on his part. "We haven't made any decisions about the return of Ricky," Paul Telegedy, NBC's president of Alternative and Late Night Programming, said, adding that he thought the Brit was good on Sunday. "When you book Ricky, you know what you're in for." "I think Ricky made a decision about returning, but we haven't yet," Greenblatt said.

Celebrity Apprentice: The rebooted franchise, now with Arnold Schwarzenegger hosting, will film in the spring and could be on the air as early as fall.