'Friends' to Stay on Comedy Central UK

Courtesy Everett Collection

The Viacom network strikes a four-year deal with Warner Bros. International Television and will also organize FriendsFest in London in September.

Viacom's Comedy Central UK said on Wednesday that it has renewed its license for Friends for four more years in a deal with Warner Bros. International Television.

Financial details weren't disclosed.

Friends first aired on Comedy Central UK in 2011 and continues to be "a significant ratings contributor," the network said. To date, 32.1 million people have watched the show since it premiered on Comedy Central UK, with 5.9 million viewers tuning in to watch each month, it said.

This year, Friends’ share of viewing in Britain is up 11 percent over last year.

"Friends has become synonymous with Comedy Central in the minds of fans and so I’m thrilled we can continue to deliver them their favorite show," said Jill Offman, managing director at Comedy Central UK and senior vp at Comedy International. "We are also investing in the brand off-air and can’t wait to host FriendsFest, a weeklong interactive experience in central London this September.”

Said Jeffrey Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros Worldwide Television Distribution: "For 20 years, Friends has been one of the most popular and enduring shows in the U.K. This great show continues to run contrary to all the usual trends for long-running sitcoms by not only maintaining a loyal audience but attracting new fans, some of whom were not even alive when it was originally telecast. The performance and renewal on Comedy Central reinforces that Friends continues to be a culturally relevant program, making it one of the few reliable hit shows that crosses generational lines and still attracts a large and diverse audience on linear television."

Comedy Central’s FriendsFest will take place Sept. 16-20 at The Boiler House on Brick Lane in London. "The venue will be transformed into the ultimate Friends experience and will include a recreation of the set of Monica’s apartment, an exhibition of original props and memorabilia, plus the chance for fans to sit on the iconic orange sofa featured in the show," the network said.

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