Top-Rated TV Finales of All Time

Will 'Breaking Bad' make the list of top 10 TV finales?

September 30, 2013, 10:54 AM
PHOTO: This image released by AMC shows Bryan Cranston as Walter White, left, and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from "Breaking Bad."
This image released by AMC shows Bryan Cranston as Walter White, left, and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from "Breaking Bad."
Ursula Coyote/AMC/AP Photo

Sept. 30, 2013— -- intro: "Breaking Bad" ended its successful run last night as one of the most respected shows on TV, to the chagrin of millions of devoted fans across the country. No spoilers here, but Walter White saying "goodbye" in one way or another definitely caused a stir as the masses geared up in front of their televisions to see how the show would conclude. If and how would White die? What would happen to Aaron Paul's character? With official numbers coming later in the day, here are the top 10 viewed TV finales.

quicklist: 1

title: M*A*S*Htext: Still the gold standard, "M*A*S*H's" series finale pulled in more than 125 million viewers in 1983. Alan Alda and the gang went out with a bang in this Korean War comedy that lasted more than a decade.

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quicklist: 2

title: Cheerstext: Anytime you know the theme song even if you haven't seen the show, it's a hit. "Cheers" was the place to go where "everybody knows your name" and for that, the finale raked in 84.4 million viewers for it close in 1993.


quicklist: 3title: Seinfeldtext: For a show basically about nothing, 76 million viewers who watched the last show adequately titled "The Finale" in 1998 ain't half bad. "What's the deal with finales?," Jerry would have asked.

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quicklist: 4title: Friendstext: More than 52 million people watched as Ross and Rachel finally got back together in 2004. "We were on a break!" 10 years later, the show is sadly still on a permanent break.

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quicklist: 5title:Magnum, P.I.text: Tom Selleck's stache alone could pull in 50 million viewers to watch as "Magnum P.I." closed its run in 1988. A few years later, Selleck would be back in the No. 4 show on the list, as Monica's love interest in "Friends." Coincidence? No way!

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quicklist: 6

title: The Cosby Showtext: The show that rightfully so broke so many stereotypes and made Bill Cosby a household name pulled in more 44 million viewers for its last episode in 1992. Everyone loved the Huxtables.

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quicklist: 7

title: All in the Familytext: At the time it aired in 1979, "All in the Family" was the king of finales topping the charts back then with more than 40 million viewers.


quicklist: 8title: Family Tiestext: Michael J. Fox is back this year with a new show, but before "Back to the Future" he was a fan favorite in "Family Ties." The finale had more than 36 million watchers in 1989.

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quicklist: 9title: Home Improvementtext: Tim Allen made his last "Home Improvement" before the new millennia in May of 1999. Apparently people cared, as it had 35.5 million people on the edge of their seat.

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quicklist: 10title: Frasiertext: A spin-off of "Cheers," the No. 2 show on the list, "Frasier" was one of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time. So, it makes perfect sense that Kelsey Grammer was able to garner 33 million viewers for "Goodnight, Seattle."

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