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What makes a successful TV finale?

“Lost” is the latest hit show to the join a rich history of TV-series swan songs, from the controversial “it was all a dream” finale of “St. Elsewhere” to the up-in-the-air “cut to black” ending of “The Sopranos.”

Hyped to the hilt, these final episodes may anger, confuse, or leave viewers yearning for more, but they all have one thing in common: big ratings. “Sex and the City” writer and producer Amy Harris and blogger and media studies professor Paul Levinson talk about the secret to TV finale success.



  • Chefbrad


  • mokomike

    best finale ever? the second bob newhart show which found him back in the first bob newhart show.

  • D johnson

    Your attack on Newt Gingrich’s comments again showed your bias.. Words have consequences. How about actions having consequences.. Your examples were about conservatives frustrated at the present admin.. You did not show SEIU sending 14 bus loads to private homes of Bank of American people going on their yards with bull horns.. OPS that is OK.. Even when small children are in the house alone???? Jon every time you show us your one sides BS you’ll hear from people. You need to be reminded you are on PBS supported by the people..This is not Newsweek..

  • Jonas

    Chef and DJ,

    Do you both live next to a 420 Compassion center?

  • David

    Can’t BELIEVE neither of these so-called “experts” failed to mention the MASH finale. That’s far and away the best one ever. (Though I do agree with Mokomike that the “Newhart” finale was a very good one.)

  • Claudia Thomas

    Very nice to see Allison Stewart. Welcome back to my TV, at least. I’ve followed your
    stints on MSNBC & as sit-in host of PBS weekends. Just caught this yesterday &
    missed most of Friday the 21st topics. I’ll be watching & if I miss something, I see
    I can get the synopsis on your webiste. Congratulations, again.
    Claudia from Las Vegas.

  • Werner Patels

    As I pointed out in my online column recently, I think everyone will be disappointed in a way, because none of the theories we’ve heard so far will turn out to be the correct one.

    Having said that, I do believe that it’ll come down to religion, maybe even “God” Himself.

  • Steve Borchand

    I would have preferred a blog post offering thumbs up or down to a longer list and variety of iconic shows. Amy Harris added little to nothing except how proud she is of S&TC, while Paul wasn’t given enough time to really cover the milestone TV finales. His last comment was negligible.

    NTK needs to understand that video in and of itself doesn’t make a report interesting, much less rise to the expectation of “need to know.” There are interesting and fun points to make about finales — this was half-hearted and way too pointlessly fluffy.

    Overall note to NTK: Calm down. Your good stuff is good; don’t feel like you have to cover every topic under the sun — the result will be moments of wince-worthy mediocrity like this. Oh, and Meacham is the stiffest, least charismatic anchor since Ted Knight.

  • Jim

    I love your show. Keep up the good work.