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The ''Friends'' are going back to work

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The sign on Central Perk now says, ”Open for Business.” NBC’s Friends (who are demanding $100,000 per episode) returned to the set Aug. 12. But even as the cast attended a read-through for the first two episodes, a new contract had not been signed. ”There is no deal,” said a Warner Bros. spokesman at press time. The actors had no comment on the negotiations, but the studio reportedly offered each star $80,000 an episode with raises every year. Though it was, um, a friendly reading, no one apparently whistled while they worked.