last episode: The Sharecroppers, March 31, 1975 Written by
Earl Wallace, Directed by Leonard Katzman, Guest Cast: Susanne
Benton, Victor French, Terry Williams, Jacques Aubuchon,
Brtice Boxtleitner, Lisa Eilbacher, Graham Jarvis
final episodes of all time:
Accordning to HamptonRoads.com, here
are prime-time TV’s whopper windups, with the household
ratings in parentheses:
1. “M*A*S*H,” CBS,
Feb. 28, 1983 (60.3) – The saga of the men and women
of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital ended with the
sound of helicopters lifting them out of Korea and back to
their civilian lives. The series had been averaging 22.6
million viewers, so it was not a surprise when the audience
exceeded 100 million for the last goodbye. With numbers that
large, CBS rushed a sequel, “After M*A*S*H” into
production. It lasted 15 months.
2. “The Fugitive,” ABC,
Aug. 29, 1967 (45.9) – For a relatively brief run
(1963-1967), this series captured an audience that was
large and loyal. It averaged 27.2 million viewers in the
early 1960s – better than “The Beverly Hillbillies.” The
finale left TV America buzzing for weeks. CBS in 2000 revived “The
Fugitive” with Tim Daly playing Kimble. It was gone
in less than a year.
3. “Cheers,” NBC, May
20, 19 93 (45.5) – In the finale, Sam (Ted Danson)
and Diane (Shelley Long) tried one more time to be a couple,
and again, it didn’t take. Sam was set to follow
Diane to California then backed out. In the classic last
scene, Sam shuts down Cheers, turning away a customer at
the door by saying, “Sorry. We’re closed.”
4. “Seinfeld,” NBC, May
14, 1998 (41.3) – The last episode is best forgotten.
Written by co-creator Larry David, it put Jerry, Kramer,
George and Elaine in Massachusetts, where they see a carjacking.
They fail to report it, violating the town’s Good
Samaritan law, and thereby earn a year in jail. Characters
who were insulted by the four over the years – hello,
Newman – testified against them at the trial. The
finish felt flat from beginning to end.
5. “Magnum P.I.,” CBS,
May 1, 1988 (32.0) – The producers expected the series
to end in 1987, so they had Magnum (Tom Selleck) shot dead
and headed for heaven. Upon the series’ renewal,
Magnum was back, but in a temporary coma. The series ended
with him visiting “Tidewater, Virginia,” leaving
the private-eye business for another hitch in the Navy
and a reunion with his daughter.
6. “The Cosby Show,” NBC,
April 30, 1992 (28.0) – Nice closing here. Bill Cosby
and Phylicia Rashad, who played Cliff and Clair Huxtable,
danced together as time ran out – danced right off
the set and onto the soundstage where the show was taped.
The last episode focused on the graduation of Theo (Malcolm-Jamal
Warner) with Cliff being miffed at the commencement arrangements.
7. “All in the Family,” CBS,
April 8, 1979 (26.6) – The breakthrough comedy ended
in one form early in 1979 with Archie Bunker’s wife,
Edith, dying of a stroke, and then continued until 1983
in another format. Carroll O’Connor continued with
his character in 97 episodes of “Archie Bunker’s
8. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” CBS,
March 19, 1977 (25.5) – This sitcom produced the
most-talked-about last moment as the gang at WJM-TV departs
with a group hug and a tearful version of “It’s
a Long Way to Tipperary.” The station changed hands,
and except for pompous anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight),
the people in the newsroom presided over by Lou Grant (Edward
Asner) were let go. Grant’s last words: “I
cherish you people.”
9. “Dallas,” CBS, May
3, 1991 (22.0) – J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) loses
Ewing Oil; his son, John Ross, leaves him to live with
his mother, and brother Bobby ends up with Southfork. J.R.
contemplates suicide. The “Who shot J.R.?” revelation
on Nov. 21,1980, had 80 percent of U.S. viewers watching.
In the last episode – No. 356 – Joel Grey plays
an angel who shows J.R. how the world would be if he hadn’t