Tuesday, January 12, 2010

N-of-8 top TV shows of the past decade

Reuters has released a list of the most-watched TV episodes of the past decade. Of course "Friends" and "Survivor" top the list, but there's some other entries that are quite surprising.
  1. Friends (52.5 million viewers) -- the series finale titled "The Last One." Rachel and Ross were back together, Monica and Chandler got their babies and everybody left Monica's empty apartment.
  2. Survivor (51.7 milion) -- the first season came to a close and the network TV landscape was never again the same. Reality TV programming was off and running, as Richard Hatch beat Kelly Wiglesworth for the prize.
  3. Joe Millionaire (40 million) -- the finale of "Joe Millionaire" comes in at the #3 spot? Stunning. Apparently people were very interested if Evan Marriott would choose wholesome Zora or slutty Sarah and whether the chosen one would care if he wasn't a millionaire.
  4. ER (39.4 million) -- the episode "All In the Family" is definitely one of the most compelling hours of television ever. When Carter and Lucy are stabbed by a schizophrenic patient, the entire team rallies to save them.
  5. American Idol (38.1 million) -- premiere of the sixth season is its most-watched episode. That's surprising. Not only was "Idol" coming off a rather lackluster season 5, but premiere episodes are even half as interesting as the actual performance episodes.
  6. Grey's Anatomy (38 million) -- "It's the End of the World As We Know It" benefited from the post- Super Bowl time slot. However, Grey's Anatomy used that plum slot to offer up a very exciting, bomb-squad filled episode.
  7. Who Wants to be a Millionaire (36 million) -- at the height of its popularity in 2000, Regis was bringing in 30+ million viewers four times a week. Incredible.
  8. Frasier (33.7 million) -- on the eve of Daphne's wedding, Niles finally tells her how he feels about it. It was a pair waiting seven seasons to be together and a lot of people tuned in to watch.
Rounding out the top ten are:
  • Everybody Loves Raymond (32.9 million) -- the biggest ratings draw was when the Emmy-winning sitcom went off the air after nine seasons. Everyone tuned into see how they would send off the Barone family and it did not disappoint. The show teased us with Raymond's near-death experience, which made his family act a little nicer towards him. But only a little.
  • Spin City (32.8 million) -- the "Goodbye" episode was Michael J. Fox's departure from the show because of Parkinson's disease.

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