Top Five Cable and Broadcast Finales of All Time: Who’s Number One?

Top Five Cable and Broadcast Finales of All Time: Who's Number One?

The water cooler lives.

For all the hoopla surrounding the “Breaking Bad” finale, it was neither the most-watched cable finale, nor did it come near the sheer numbers generated by the top broadcast finales. (Our analysis here, roundup here.) Variety helpfully put together a list of the top TV finale performers, but posted in the form of an annoying photo gallery. To spare you that, here’s the list:

BROADCAST FINALES

#1: “M.A.S.H.” 

(CBS) 1983 – 105.9 million

#2: “Cheers” 

(NBC) 1993 – 80.4 million

#3: “Seinfeld” 

(NBC) 1998 – 76.3 million

#4: “Friends”

(NBC) 2004 – 52.5 million

#5: “Magnum P.I.”

(CBS) 1998 – 50.7 million

CABLE FINALES

#1: “The Sopranos

(HBO) 2007 – 11.9 million viewers

#2: “Sex and the City

(HBO) 2004 – 10.6 million

#3: “Breaking Bad”

(AMC) 2013 – 10.3 million

#4: “Monk” 

(USA) 2009 – 9.4 million

#5: “The Closer” 

(TNT) 2012 – 9.1 million

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Comments

DavidC

Notable that all the broadcast records are held by pre-cable-era shows. Nobody will ever get those kinds of numbers again. The audience is too fragmented.

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