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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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52.5 million click their farewell to ‘Friends’

Lynn Elber Associated Press

“Friends” was a friend to the end for NBC, with the sitcom’s final episode boosting the network to its best weekly showing in two years.

Last Thursday’s “Friends” finale, which drew an average 52.5 million viewers, was the top-rated entertainment show on any network since the “Seinfeld” finale six years ago.

“Friends” ranks as the fourth most-watched series finale in TV history, behind CBS’ “M*A*S*H” (106 million) and NBC’s “Cheers” (80.4 million) and “Seinfeld” (76.3 million).

NBC also aired the week’s most-watched drama series (“ER”) and TV movie (Part 2 of the earthquake drama “10.5”), according to Nielsen Media Research.

That gave the network its best showing among total viewers in two years and matched its highest non-Olympic weekly rating in more than four years among advertiser-prized viewers ages 18 to 49.

NBC averaged 14.9 million viewers in prime time for the week (5.4 rating, 15 share), besting CBS’ 13.2 million (4.8 rating, 13 share). CBS had bragging rights in the reality realm, with the “Survivor All-Stars” finale and reunion show each pulling in audiences of about 24 million.

The top 10 shows for the week ending Sunday, their networks and viewerships: “Friends,” NBC, 52.5 million viewers; “Friends Clipshow,” NBC, 36.9 million; “ER,” NBC, 28.4 million; “Survivor All-Stars Finale,” CBS, 24.8 million; “Survivor All-Stars Reunion,” CBS, 23.9 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 22.8 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 21.2 million; “CSI,” CBS, 20.4 million; “NBC Movie of the Week: ‘10.5’ ” (Monday), NBC, 19.9 million; “Survivor: All-Stars” (Thursday), CBS, 19.2 million.

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