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NBC gives the ''Friends'' cast an ultimatum

Sunday at noon is the network’s deadline for signing new contracts

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Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, ...

CONTRACT WARFARE NBC has drawn a line in the sand with the ”Friends” cast, which has yet to close a deal on a seventh season for TV’s No. 1 comedy. The network issued this statement today: ”We have a noon deadline on Sunday and we are prepared to announce our fall schedule on Monday without ‘Friends’ in the lineup.” The actors are demanding raises of more than $800,000 per episode — up from their current $125,000. While NBC certainly needs ”Friends” to keep a stronghold on Must See Thursdays, it appears poised to face a future without the six actors if it means saying no to unreasonable cash demands.