Turner Boss Kevin Reilly Doesn’t Want WarnerMedia to Share ‘Friends’ With Netflix

TCA 2019: “My belief is that they should be exclusive to the service,” exec says of Warner Bros’ “crown jewels”

Last Updated: February 13, 2019 @ 11:07 AM

Will “Friends” remain on Netflix after 2019? Probably not, if Turner chief Kevin Reilly has anything to say about it.

When asked by a reporter during the Television Critics Association press tour if the plan is to pull Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe “completely off of” the rival streamer and put it exclusively on the upcoming WarnerMedia SVOD product, or if he’s open to a “multi-share, multi-window thing,” he said he’d rather not let Netflix have it too — in a very roundabout way.

“I think you can expect that, uh, kind of the crown jewels of Warner will ultimately end up on the service,” Reilly said. “So pulling it, pulling it away — but it certainly is something that we’re going to be looking to do. And I think for the most part sharing destination assets like that, it is not a good model to share them. My belief is that they should be exclusive to the service.”

Last Dec. 3 was a rollercoaster ride for “Friends” fans, as it initially appeared that the classic NBC comedy would be removed from Netflix on Jan. 1. Later that same day, the streaming giant quelled subscribers’ fears, announcing that “Friends” will stick around through 2019.

Just one day later, AT&T chief Randall Stephenson said the upcoming WarnerMedia SVOD product would also likely house the must-see TV show, during the 46th Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. But he didn’t say anything about that platform being the only one to house it.

“That’s a Warner Bros. property,” the AT&T Chairman and CEO said at the time. “Well, [Netflix] re-signed it on a non-exclusive basis. What does that mean? That means ‘Friends’ could go on to our platform as well.”

“That’s content that we would definitely want on our platform, and it’s obviously very important to Netflix as well,” Stephenson tacked on to the “Friends” conversation a few minutes later. “So, it’s kind of a logical situation. Is it necessary that it be exclusive to WarnerMedia on their product? No, it’s not necessary — it’s just important that we have the content.”

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