For most people, the first day of the new year is a time to celebrate, make resolutions, and get excited about what the next 365 days may bring. However, if you're a fan of the beloved sitcom series Friends, this New Year's Day is probably a cause of more frustration and disappointment than joy. All 10 seasons of the long-running series have been streaming on Netflix for the past couple of years, but that run of instant Friends access has come to an end. At least for now, anyway.
When the clock struck midnight on the West Coast, and the year 2020 had officially arrived for all time zones in the United States, every episode of Friends was removed from Netflix. One of the most binge-worthy shows on the service's library is now gone, for at least the next few years but likely on a permanent basis.
Netflix acquired the rights to stream Friends a couple of years ago, really bolstering its sitcom library. It almost lost the series one year ago, when its initial streaming contract was supposed to run out, but Netflix made a last minute deal at the end of 2018 to keep Friends for another year, paying a pretty penny for the rights.
Shows like Friends have proven to be lucrative ventures for streaming services, as many of the newer services have already paid a small fortune for them. WarnerMedia's HBO Max, which launches this spring, shelled out a massive amount for Friends and The Big Bang Theory, becoming the exclusive streaming home to both shows. NBC's Peacock will be exclusively streaming The Office and Parks and Recreation beginning next year, causing Netflix to lose both of them as well.
To try and make up for the Friends and Office-sized holes in its lineup, Netflix has acquired the rights to stream all nine seasons of Seinfeld, beginning in 2021.
Are you disappointed to see Friends leaving Netflix? Let us know in the comments!