I’ll admit it – I’m a Lost fan. I have a feeling that the season finale for that show will be one of the highest ranked in history. The show isn’t even that good anymore, in my opinion; people just really want to know how it ends. It has some stiff competition, though. Here are the top ten most watched series finales of all time (numbers reflect US viewers):
10. Home Improvement: I actually remember watching the series finale of this show as a teen and crying at the end when all the actors came out and waved goodbye to the audience. 35 million people were watching with me, and I’m willing to bet some of them were teary-eyed as well.
9. Family Ties: In 1989, NBC canceled Family Ties, and the last episode brought in 36.3 million viewers.
8. All in the Family: A decade earlier, 40.2 million people tuned in for the All in the Family series finale in 1979.
7. The Cosby Show: When Bill and his family went off the air in 1992, they had an audience of 44.4 million.
6. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson: 50 million viewers watched Johnny say goodbye to the Tonight Show in 1992. Jay Leno doesn’t hold a candle.
5. Magnum, P.I.: Just beating out Johnny Carson, Magnum, P.I. went out with 50.7 million viewers in 1988.
4. Friends: When the show ended in 2004, 52.5 million people tuned in to say goodbye to Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, and Ross.
3. Seinfeld: My middle school honor society induction ceremony was the night of Seinfeld‘s last episode, and afterward people cleared out in a hurry to get home in time. 76.3 million viewers watched the friends stand trial.
2. Cheers: I remember my mom being sad that Cheers was coming to an end. She was one of the 80.4 million viewers who watched the last episode in 1993.
1. M*A*S*H: 105.9 million viewers tuned in for the last episode of M*A*S*H, which aired on CBS on February 28, 1983.
Rounding out the top 20: Frasier, Dallas, Everybody Loves Raymond, Gunsmoke, The Fugitive, Newhart, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Golden Girls, Full House, and St. Elsewhere