Those who follow TV history know that next month marks the 40th anniversary of the “The Judgment,” the famous two-part final episode of The Fugitive (ABC, 1963-1967) in which Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) finally cleared his name after four long years on the run from an unjust murder conviction. The finale originally aired on August 22 and 29, 1967; Part 2 attracted a phenomenal 72 percent share of the total U.S. television audience that night, a figure that has been topped only on two occasions since: the “Who Done It?” episode of Dallas of November 21, 1980, which answered the question “Who Shot J.R.?”, and the final episode of “M*A*S*H” (the most-watched series episode of all time), which aired on February 28, 1983.
The Fugitive finale not only remains one of the most highly watched single episodes of a TV series ever, it marked the very first time a television series went out on its own terms with a definitive final episode.
This week on Talking Television with Dave White, Frankie Montiforte and I will pay tribute to the final episode of The Fugitive, as well as other famous series finales, from the heartwarming final episodes of M*A*S*H and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, to the surprise ending of Newhart, to the controversial endings of St. Elsewhere and The Sopranos, and a whole lot more.
We all have our favorite final episodes. Which series finale was your favorite? Let us know. Join us for our webcast this Tuesday, July 24 beginning at 10:30 pm ET, 7:30 pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org.