Friends renews for a ninth season

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Friends is coming back for a ninth season on
NBC. It will be the show's last.

Warner Bros. and the network have reached a new deal with the six co-stars of
the hit sitcom that will keep the show on the air through the 2002-2003
season.

The six co-stars -- Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Lisa
Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry -- will receive close to $1 million per
episode next season, insiders said.

Both NBC and Warner Bros. executives were not commenting on the price of the
deal.

All six actors currently receive $750,000 per episode and recently turned
down a reported offer of $800,000 per show for next season.

It had been reported that the actors have been asking for just over $1
million per episode on an individual basis.

Warner Bros. will produce 24 episodes of the comedy next
season that will be dedicated to wrapping up character story lines.

Friends has had a banner season thus far,
averaging 24.5 million viewers and an 11.9 rating/31 share in adults 18 through 49,
according to Nielsen Media Research.

Last season, Friends averaged 19.4 million and a
9.7/27 in adults 18 through 49.

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