Television ads for last episode of 'Friends' cost $2m

It is the season for sitcom adieus on American network television, with a large portion of the nation's populace preparing to settle down for a two-hour final episode of Friends this evening, after which they will have one week to get ready to bid farewell to another popular sitcom, Frasier .

For the peacock network, as NBC is sometimes called, it is also dollars season. Tonight's finale of Friends is expected to draw an audience of about 50 million viewers, which means exceptionally high rates for companies placing advertisements in the breaks.

Reportedly, NBC is asking $2m (£1.1m) for every 30-second slot tonight, which is almost as much as advertising costs during the annual Super Bowl football game, which traditionally commands the highest rates of the year; this year's game, on CBS, commanded $2.3m (£1.3m) a slot.

Such hoopla for the ending of a television show has not been seen since quirky Seinfeld folded its tent six years ago. The comedy, starring the stand-up performer Jerry Seinfeld, did even better for NBC, with an unexpectedly mighty audience of 76 million.

But industry experts note that the television world has changed significantly since 1998, with different options in home entertainment making it harder for any broadcast network to replicate such high viewership numbers today.

Just as with Seinfeld , the final gasp of the six no-longer-quite-so-young friends - Joey, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross and Chandler - will be celebrated with scores of impromptu farewell parties across the country tonight to mark the end of their 10-year run. As many as 3,000 New Yorkers will settle by the Hudson river on the lawn at Pier 25 for an outdoor screening of the last episode. NBC has stayed mostly silent about the storyline.

But the network has been less coy about the bevy of guest stars expected to bid the radio psychiatrist in Frasier goodbye next week. They include Robbie Coltrane, Richard E Grant, Jason Biggs and Laura Linney.

Of course, it is not a final farewell this evening. Joey, played by the actor Matt LeBlanc, will surface again in a spin-off show set in Los Angeles that will simply be called Joey and is due to make its debut this autumn. And die-hard fans of Friends will doubtless be able to find the sexy sixsome resurrected almost nightly in syndicated re-runs on television for several more years to come.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor