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Comedy Central keeps in contact with Friends

FriendsLandscapeComedy Central UK has retained local rights to evergreen American sitcom Friends for another four years.

The Viacom International Media Networks-owned pay channel first broadcast Friends in 2011 after E4 had relinquished rights. A new deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution means Comedy Central remains the show’s exclusive UK home.

Comedy Central said 32.1 million individuals had watched episodes of the comedy, which followed a group of twenty-something in 1990s New York, since its launch on the network, with nearly six million tuning in each month.

The ratings have helped build Comedy Central’s overall share, and have demonstrated the on-going popularity of Friends, whose finale episode in the US on NBC peaked with an audience of 52.5 million.

“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,” said WBITVD president Jeffrey Schlesinger.

Friends has become synonymous with Comedy Central in the minds of fans,” said Jill Offman, managing director, Comedy Central UK and senior VP, Comedy Central International.

“We are also investing in the brand off-air and can’t wait to host FriendsFest, a week long interactive experience in central London this September.”

The FriendsFest week between September 16-20 will be a series of events and experiences in Brick Lane, London that include a recreation of the famous apartment a large part of the show was set in.

Comedy Central UK will be playing all 236 episodes in chronological order from August 24 ahead of the event.