The 10 Most Popular TV Series Finales Of All Time

Desperate Housewives, House

After eight seasons, two network TV institutions are coming to an end. 

Fox’s medical drama “House” is closing its hospital doors on May 21st and ABC’s soapy “Desperate Housewives” will be leaving Wisteria Lane on May 13th. 

Both shows were huge hits for their respective networks and set the bar for network dramas.

“Desperate Housewives” was considered the biggest success of the 2004-2005 pilot season and audiences flocked to see the chemistry of leads Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross.

“House” started strong and rose in popularity for the first three seasons thanks, in large part, to Hugh Laurie‘s critically adored portrayal of Dr. House. 

But lately the two fan-favourites have been dwindling.

With their May departures looming, we take a look back at the shows that had the most watched series finales of all time. 

Will “Desperate Housewives” or “House” join the list? Or are they both doomed to make a quiet exit? 

'Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore Parts 1 & 2' (May 14, 1989)

Total Viewers: 36.3 million

Alex B. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) finally packs up for a job on Wall Street, but his mother Elyse is crushed with the thought of her oldest child finally leaving the nest.

Elyse finally gives in and lets her child be happy. A fitting ending for a show about 'Family Ties.'

'Too Good to Edith' (April 8, 1979)

Total Viewers: 40.2 million

Archie Bunker finally shows a lot of love for his wife Edith in this series finale.

After 'All in the Family' ended its nine-season reign, the show was retooled and re-released with the title 'Archie Bunker's Place.' That show lasted another four seasons.

'And So We Commence Part 1 & 2' (April 30, 1992)

Total Viewers: 44.4 million

The Huxtables go through a lot of changes in the finale, but throughout the series, there was always one constant: the steady marriage between Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Clair (Phylicia Rashad).

The couple shares a final dance, then waves to the crowd before disappearing backstage.

Johnny Carson's last show (May 22, 1992)

Total Viewers: 50 mil

In 1992, the legendary comedian ended his over 4500-episode run on 'The Tonight Show' in a very simple, sweet way: 'I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight.'

No guests were on the show that night, but that was no problem. Carson was the only person viewers wanted to see anyway.

'Resolutions 1 & 2' (May 1, 1988)

Total Viewers: 50.7 million

Tom Selleck's Hawaii-based private investigator was originally supposed to be killed off at the end of season 7 and that was to be the end of the series. But fans were so outraged, CBS had to produce 12 more episodes.

The series finale sees Magnum trying to catch a killer and figure out who the identity of his mysterious benefactor, all while getting ready for his wedding.

'The Last One: Part 1 and 2' (May 6, 2004)

Total Viewers: 52.46 million

The country was waiting on pins and needles to find out if Ross and Rachel would finally end up together while Chandler and Monica started to move on with their lives with two babies and a new house in the 'burbs.

'Part VIII' (January 30, 1977)

Total Viewers: 69.12 million

Kunte Kinte and his descendants' story ends full circle with Kunta's grandson Chicken George telling his own grandson about the bravery of Kunta himself.

'Roots' was the most-watched miniseries of all time and earned rave reviews for its brutally honest portrayal of racial tension and divides throughout African American history.

'The Finale' (May 14, 1998)

Total Viewers: 76.3 million

For a 'show about nothing,' this was definitely something.

Jerry and the gang are re-visited by old acquaintances, lovers and enemies as they go on trial for breaking the Good Samaritan law.

'One For The Road' (May 20, 1993)

Total Viewers: 93.05 million

Admit it. If you watched the series finale for 'Cheers', you sang 'Where Everybody Knows Your Name.'

'Goodbye, Farewell and Amen' (February 26, 1983)

Total Viewers: 105.97 million

'M*A*S*H' star Alan Alda directed the farewell episode to the Korean War-set medical drama which held the record for the most-watched telecasts ever until 2010's Superbowl took it down with an estimated 106 million viewers and 2011's Superbowl went higher than that with approximately 111 million viewers.

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