Ninth season of 'Friends' gets go-ahead
The cast issued a joint statement, saying that they are "enormously pleased and excited to be returning for a ninth season", and adding: "We could not ignore the outpouring of public support for the show and we are looking forward to creating one more season with the best writers, producers, directors and production people in television."
Today's news confirms speculation earlier this month, reported on Digital Spy, that the cast would be persuaded to return for a ninth season if the money was high enough. Unconfirmed reports earlier this month indicate the new contracts could be worth as much as $1.1m per episode for each of the cast members. Their current contracts, worth in the region of $750,000-$800,000 per episode, expire at the end of the current season.
The show's creators and executive producers, Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, issued a joint statement:
"The show is at a creative and ratings pinnacle and that is thanks to the dedication and caring of our cast, our writers, our directors and the hundreds of people it takes each week to put together a top-quality popular series.
"We will devote the entire 24 episodes of the final season to wrap up storylines and send our characters off into the world. We are all very excited about being able to do that and very grateful to the many who will make it possible."
These views were echoed by Peter Roth, President of Warner Brothers Television who argued that creative completeness was important to the series: "We believe it is essential that Friends not only go out on top in the ratings, but also be creatively complete. We owe that to ourselves, to all of the extraordinarily talented people who have put their hearts and souls into the show for nearly a decade and, most importantly, to the millions and millions of the fans around the world. The reason this deal came together so amicably is that we all readily understood we could accomplish all of our goals and serve all of our interests by having a farewell season devoted to concluding the series."
NBC's President of Entertainment, Jeff Zucker, said the network was "thrilled".