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October 25, 2014

Most Watched TV Finales

by AOL TV Staff, posted May 15th 2010 2:42PM
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Most Watched TV Finales

10. 'All In The Family' Series Finale
Aired: April 8, 1979 | Watched by: 40.2 Million Households
The Big Event: Edith's illness (phlebitis) was exacerbated by Archie's need for corned beef and cabbage. She was saved in the nick of time, but admitted to Archie was that she hid her ailment because she doubted his love for her. The series ended with Archie confessing that without Edith he would be nothing.

Most Watched TV Finales

9. 'The Cosby Show' Series Finale
Aired: April 30, 1992 | Watched by: 44.4 Million Households
The Big Event: The eighth and final season featured a running joke about the doorbell with the strange ring. In the finale, the doorbell finally played music to which Cliff and Claire Huxtable danced off the stage. They broke the "fourth wall" and bowed to the studio audience.
Cosby Show

Most Watched TV Finales

8. 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' Finale
Aired: May 22, 1992 | Watched by: 50.0 Million Households
The Big Event: For a show that welcomed guests for years, Johnny Carson marked his retirement without the help of anyone. He ended his show with the line, "And so it has come to this. I am one of the lucky people in the world. I found something that I always wanted to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight." Although he promised to do so, Carson never returned to television after his retirement.
Tonight Show with Johnny Carson finale

Most Watched TV Finales

7. 'Magnum, P.I.' Series Finale
Aired: May 1, 1988 | Watched by: 50.7 Million Households
The Big Event: After eight seasons on air, 'Magnum' made his final bow with a two-part finale entitled 'Resolutions.' Although it answered some questions for longtime fans, the series ended with an unresolved cliffhanger. During Rick's wedding we learned his real name (Orville), but audiences never found out if he actually said "I do."
Magnum PI

Most Watched TV Finales

6. 'Survivor' 1st Season Finale
Aired: Aug. 23, 2000 | Watched by: 51.7 Million Viewers
The Big Event: You always remember your first. Even though the first 'Survivor' is serving time for tax evasion, we'll always remember Richard Hatch as the man who proved that being calculating and manipulative does pay ($1 million). And in all the seasons since there's never been a more heated tribal council than this one, where Susan Hawk tells Kelly Wigglesworth she'd let her die of thirst.

Most Watched TV Finales

5. 'Friends' Series Finale
Aired: May 6, 2004 | Watched by: 52.5 Million Viewers
The Big Event: Follow six New Yorkers for 10 seasons, pair them off and send one to Los Angeles to pursue acting and you've got a recipe for ratings gold. Ross and Rachel finally got back together, Monica and Chandler adopted twins and even Phoebe settled down. But poor, single Joey spun off into disaster with his own failed series.

Most Watched TV Finales

4. 'Seinfeld' Series Finale
Aired: May 14, 1998 | Watched by: 76.3 Million Viewers
The Big Event: After nine seasons and 176 episodes, the show about nothing had to come to an end. The plot of the finale was a highly guarded secret by the cast and crew. To prevent any leaks, friends and family in the audience signed "vows of silence." The 75-minute finale found the four friends sentenced to a year in jail for violating a Good Samaritan law.

Most Watched TV Finales

3. 'Cheers' Series Finale
Aired: May 20, 1993 | Watched by: 80.4 Million Viewers
The Big Event: The show nearly missed "Must See TV" status: It was almost cancelled in its first season. The series started off with Sam opening the bar, and the finale ended with Sam closing the bar. 'Cheers' won 26 Emmy awards out of 117 nominations, with every regular cast member nominated at least once.

Most Watched TV Finales

2. 'Roots' Miniseries Finale
Aired: Jan. 30, 1977 | Watched by: 36.38 Million Households
The Big Event: The most-watched miniseries in history reached over 85 percent of all television homes, and won nine Emmy Awards, a Peabody and a Golden Globe. The cultural phenomenon spurred interest in genealogy, defied conventions about African-American-oriented programming and incited wide-ranging discussions about race.

Most Watched TV Finales

1. ' M*A*S*H' Series Finale
Aired: Feb. 28, 1983 | Watched by: 105.9 Million Viewers
The Big Event: The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital ('M*A*S*H') can be described as the original 'ER.' The show was based on real-life stories of surgeons during the Korean War, and struck a chord with Americans during Vietnam. After 11 years, a fire destroyed the camp, Klinger married Soon Lee and the war ended in the series finale. It's still the most watched program in broadcast history.

Most Watched TV Finales

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