‘Friends’ drops off Netflix in U.S., leaving fans frustrated

Friends” is no longer there for you if you’re a Netflix subscriber in the U.S.: The show winked off the streaming service at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, 2019.

Netflix’s un-friending has left the popular ’90s-era sitcom in streaming limbo: “Friends” will not be available to stream in the United States until the spring 2020 launch of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, which secured exclusive domestic streaming rights to all 236 episodes under a five-year deal estimated to be worth $425 million. Netflix still has “Friends” in territories outside the U.S.

HBO Max is currently slated to debut sometime in May 2020, priced at $14.99 monthly (the same price as HBO Now) for a huge bucket of streaming content including “Friends,” HBO programming, licensed TV shows and movies, and a range of originals.

Until then, the only (legal) way to watch the show in the U.S. is by purchasing the show on DVD or through digital retailers like Amazon, Apple iTunes and Google Play, or via reruns on cable TV — where episodes of “Friends” are airing on TBS and Nickelodeon. Currently, the “Friends” 32-disc complete series collection is the No. 3 best-seller on Amazon (priced at $123.77) among comedies in the DVD category (after the final season of “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Office” complete collection).

19 PHOTOS
Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox together through the years
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Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox together through the years
MALIBU, CA - JUNE 02: Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox attend the CHANEL Dinner Celebrating Our Majestic Oceans, A Benefit For NRDC on June 2, 2018 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
MUST SEE TV: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE TO JAMES BURROWS -- Pictured: (l-r) Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, James Burrows, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Actress Jennifer Aniston, designer Jennifer Meyer and actress Courteney Cox attend Barneys New York, Jennifer Aniston, and Tobey Maguire host a private dinner to celebrate The Barneys New York XO Jennifer Meyer Exclusive RTW Collaboration on November 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Barneys New York)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 20: Actress Jennifer Aniston and director Courteney Cox attend the Los Angeles Special Screening of 'Just Before I Go' at ArcLight Hollywood on April 20, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Darin Pfeiffer Consulting)
COUGAR TOWN - 'All Mixed Up' - Jennifer Aniston guest stars alongside Courteney Cox on the Season Two premiere of 'Cougar Town,' WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Jules finds an instant connection with her new shrink, Glenn (Aniston), until she discovers the unfortunate but hilarious truth about her method of treatment; Ellie is jealous over Jules' fondness for Glenn; a bet between Laurie and Travis leads to a sweet sibling-like moment; and Bobby acts out his frustrations that Jules and Grayson are dating. (Photo by Karen Neal/ABC via Getty Images) COURTENEY COX, JENNIFER ANISTON
Actress Jennifer Aniston and honoree Courteney Cox Arquette attend the 2010 Crystal + Lucy Awards: A New Era at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on June 1, 2010 in Century City, California.
CENTURY CITY, CA - JUNE 01: Honoree Courteney Cox Arquette and actress Jennifer Aniston arrive at the 2010 Crystal + Lucy Awards: A New Era at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on June 1, 2010 in Century City, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Actresses Rita Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox and Kirsten Dunst arrive at the premiere of Glamour Reel Moments presented by Suave held at the Directors Guild of America on October 14, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Actresses Courteney Cox (L) and Jennifer Aniston arrive at the premiere of Glamour Reel Moments presented by Suave held at the Directors Guild of America on October 14, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox-Arquette during 'The Tripper' Los Angeles Premiere - Red Carpet and Inside at Hollywood Forever Cemetary in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage for BWR Public Relations)
Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston (Photo by Paul Redmond/WireImage)
Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox Arquette during AFI Honors Hollywood's Arquette Family With The Sixth Annual 'Platinum Circle Awards' - Green Room and Show in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)
(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) Courteney Cox-Arquette and Jennifer Aniston *Exclusive* (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: (EXCLUSIVE, NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) Courteney Cox Arquette (L) and Jennifer Aniston smile on the set of the hit NBC series 'Friends' during one of their last shows on the Warner Bros lot Sept. 12, 2003 in Burbank, CA. 'Friends,' which is in its ninth and final season, debuted in 1994, has won 44 Emmys, and is one of the biggest successes in television history. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images) This image is not included in any subscription deal. Use of this image will incur a charge.
Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt & Courteney Cox (Photo by Steve Granitz Archive 1/WireImage)
Courteney Cox Arquette and Jennifer Aniston (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Courteney Cox Arquette, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Cast members of 'Friends' winner for Best Comedy Series at the 54th Annual Emmy Awards. L-R: David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox Arquette, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston from NBC show 'Friends' (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
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“The One Where We Have To Say Goodbye,” Netflix tweeted back in July. “We’re sorry to see ‘Friends’ go to Warner’s steaming service at the beginning of 2020 (in the US). Thanks for the memories, gang.”

Meanwhile, “The Office,” another top performer on Netflix, also will be departing the streamer’s U.S. catalog at the end of 2020 to be available exclusively on NBCUniversal’s Peacock starting in 2021.

On Jan. 1, Netflix subscribers left stranded in mid-binge on “Friends” vented their woes on social media:

“Friends” originally aired on NBC from 1994-2004. The show follows the lives of a close-knit group of pals in New York City: siblings Ross (David Schwimmer) and Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), along with Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc). The show was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, who executive produced with Kevin Bright through Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

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