‘Friends’ final Show draws 51.1 Million viewers
It’s amazing how we get attached to our favorite TV shows and characters. My daughter cried over last night’s show and I was reminded of my similar reaction to the final show of Cheers. It felt like I was losing my best friends where everybody knew my name. Farewell ole ‘Friends’ and we’ll meet again at a rerun near you.
An estimated 51.1 million people tuned in to watch Ross and Rachel get together on the final episode of “Friends,” according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings released Friday. That was roughly two-thirds of the audience gathered by the “Cheers” and “Seinfeld” finales, but along the lines of what NBC had been predicting.
Nielsen estimated that just under 36 million people warmed up for the last episode by watching highlights of the past 10 seasons during the hour preceding Thursday’s finale. Television’s most popular comedy provided the ending most of its fans were hoping for, with the on-again, off-again couple declaring their undying love and the gang heading out for one last cup of java.
The stars admitted that the final episode had been a tough one to make. “It was really emotional,” said Matthew Perry, who watched the finale with the other five cast members. “I pride myself on being a real man, but I shed a few tears.” Of more than 30,000 people to respond to an America Online poll, 77 percent said rekindling Ross and Rachel’s romance was the perfect ending for the show. “I just finished bawling my eyes out,” one AOL member posted. “I am sooo glad you got off the plane, Rach. I should have done the same thing a long time ago.”
“I think it was Lisa Kudrow that started to cry first,” LeBlanc said in recent TV interview, describing the final day of shooting. “I looked at Jen and Courteney, and they were visibly upset. And then I looked at Schwimmer, who is kind of a rock emotionally. “He’s really the consummate professional. And David was visibly really upset … and I just lost it. And then all of us had to go back to make-up.”
The entire cast of Friends later appeared on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, who dedicated the hour-long program to the immensely popular comedy series.
Next week, NBC will show the final episode of the “Frasier” series after 11 years and the recent ending of “Sex and the City” has left US television without an obvious favorite comedy for advertisers to latch onto. The show is already guaranteed a permanent place in the pantheon of US sitcom classics, like “I Love Lucy,” “MASH” and “Seinfeld.”