Despite the final episode of Friends having first aired on NBC more than 14 years ago, it clearly still has a huge fan base in the U.K. The long-running sitcom is the most popular show among subscribers of streaming services in England.
Netflix has spent billions on creating original programming in the last few years, but its $118 million acquisition of the streaming rights to Friends is proving one of its best buys to date.
The success of Friends on Netflix was revealed in the recently released Media Nations report by Ofcom, the U.K.’s communications regulator. It surveyed several thousand people to examine viewing trends and other media-based habits throughout the country.
The Grand Tour, Amazon’s car show fronted by Jeremy Clarkson and company, was the second most-streamed show. The Crown from Netflix placed third and the streaming service’s Stranger Things was fourth. In the first three months of 2018, more than twice as many episodes of Friends were streamed as its closest rival, The Grand Tour.
While Netflix added Friends to its U.S. service in 2014, it only became available to U.K. subscribers at the beginning of this year. While the show has won new fans across Britain, not everyone has been enjoying the reruns of the old show, with some viewers sayingt the comedy has aged pretty badly over the years.
Friends ran from 1994 to 2004 and produced 236 episodes before the team decided to call it a day. The show made household names out of its stars, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, each of whom were reportedly paid $1 million per episode during the final season.
There’s periodical talk of a reboot of the show, but in an interview with Jennifer Aniston published earlier this month, the actress said that LeBlanc continues to reject the idea.
“I know Matt LeBlanc doesn’t want to be asked that question anymore,” Aniston said, adding, “But maybe we could talk him into it.”
On IMDB’s chart of the most popular TV comedy shows based on votes, Friends takes the No. 2 spot behind The Big Bang Theory. Other shows in the chart’s top 10 include How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons, and Arrested Development.