New York City Stood Still to Watch the ‘Seinfeld’ Finale

Talk about much ado about nothing
New York City Stood Still to Watch the ‘Seinfeld’ Finale

No matter how you feel about the Seinfeld finale, it’s hard to deny its cultural impact. From a numbers perspective, 76.3 million viewers tuned in to watch it, making it the fourth most-watched series finale of all time. Not to mention, a 30-second spot cost a cool million dollars, a historic amount for a non-sport, primetime television series and outdone only by the Super Bowl

Other networks even supported it with TV Land not airing any counter-programming — or programming of any kind. Instead, anyone who flipped over to TV Land was met with the sight of two handwritten signs that read, “We’re TV fans so... we’re watching the last episode of Seinfeld. Will return at 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. PT.”

But it was one simple screening in Times Square that proved just how much of a hold this little show about nothing had on the country. Usually reserved for digital ads or Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the screen that towers over the popular New York tourist trap aired “The Finale” in its entirety, where hundreds, if not thousands, huddled around to watch it.  

A recent post to the r/pics subreddit shared a photo from this Times Square screening. “It’s great that they made a show about nothing that was so good that people would stop what they were doing and watch it,” one redditor noted. Another joked, “Like Kennedy’s assassination or 9/11, everyone remembers where they were (for) the final episode of Seinfeld.” 

It’s remarkable photographic evidence of a time when a TV show was still capable of bringing in more viewers than the population of France.

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