The ending of any show is one that fans both anticipate and dread. On one hand, everyone craves for a satisfying conclusion for each character, the questions finally answered and the plot fully-rounded and wrapped with a neat little bow. On the other hand, it means that there won’t be any more upcoming episodes to watch out for in the future. Even those who weren’t fans in the beginning await with bated breath. It’s the opportunity for the writers to creatively and organically bring the story to a close and control exactly how the characters that the viewers have come to love over the years meet the end of their story arcs.
As you might expect, the final episodes of many shows end up becoming extremely popular and gain an extremely high number of views as people all around the globe tune in to watch. It’s hard to believe that so many would be interested in watching these shows, especially at a time when the internet wasn’t around and people had to tune in to the exact moment that the episode aired on TV.
M*A*S*H — 105 million viewers
M*A*S*H ran for a total of 11 years, and that was enough for the show to garner enough popularity to have the most watched finale of any show in history. The show was released during the Korean War, and it helped ease the tension in the air by using comedy as its tool. Until 2010, it held the most views for any TV episode in history, that is until it was surpassed by the Super Bowl.
Cheers — 84.4 million viewers
Most people compare Cheers to Friends when they think of sitcoms, and Cheers is definitely the favorite between the two for a lot of people. The ending was a well-deserved one and provided triple the run time of any regular episode, which was something fans all over the world appreciated. The finale took the entertainment industry by storm and was the most watched episode of the 90s which was a fitting end to such a beloved show.
The Fugitive — 78.0 million viewers
Stepping away from comedy, The Fugitive offers one of the most intense storylines that we’ve ever seen. The show follows the story of a man who is blamed for the murder of his wife, albeit wrongfully so, and escapes in search of the real killer. All the seasons of the show are wrapped in mystery, and its conclusion connected all the dots presented throughout the show, finally revealing the real identity of the murderer. Needless to say, the entire country wanted to find out anxiously which made The Fugitive the third highest viewed show finale of all time.
Seinfeld — 76.3 million viewers
Seinfeld is a show that’s lighthearted and fun to watch, but the finale was a pretty dramatic ending. The producers went out of their way to ensure that the final episode of the show would be remembered for years to come and involved a lot of marketing for it. The episode was drenched with the feeling of nostalgia as the various characters that had appeared throughout the show made a final performance, and while the audience was divided in their reactions, there’s no doubt that the ending was highly anticipated with so many views.
Friends — 52.5 million viewers
The 21st century is still dominated by Friends when it comes to the ratings of TV show finales, even though this sitcom ended all the way back in 2004. The last episode of the show, which was titled The Last One, gained more than double the normal viewership which just goes to show how highly anticipated and beloved it is to viewers in the country. There’s no chance that any modern show will be able to top this record on live television except Super Bowl. Friends also continues to be one of the few shows on this list that continues to be part of pop culture, and the lives of the six main characters have brought joy to millions of people since the show stopped airing – we’re hoping they’ll continue to do so for years to come.
With every passing year, an increasing number of people are getting interested in television shows as producers strive hard to ensure quality entertainment for their viewers. However, with streaming growing ever more popular, it’s highly doubtful that these records will ever be broken because people are now turning away from the television with each passing year. Out of these shows, which one is your favorite?