But still some of the series that signed off this spring enjoyed fond farewells.
A look at the TV ratings winners—and one tough-luck loser:
WENT OUT WITH A BANG
• Desperate Housewives (11.1 million viewers): After eight years, numerous cast changes and an off-screen trial, the women of Wisteria Lane proved they still had it, going out in the top 15, and improving on their season average.
• Unforgettable (10.8 million viewers): TV's most-watched cancellation victim was its second-most-watched series finale.
• House (8.7 million estimated viewers): Monday's performance was a long way away from its prime, but for latter-day House, it was pretty good. Viewership was up nearly 40 percent from last week's penultimate episode, and was on par with its season average—no small thing.
WENT OUT WITH A WHIMPER
• GCB (5.6 million viewers), Awake (2.1 million), Missing (6.5 million viewers), The Secret Circle (1.3 million viewers) and Ringer (1.2 million viewers): None were particularly perky in their season closers; all were canceled. Awake, for one, ended with 66 percent fewer viewers than it started.
• CSI: Miami (7.9 million viewers): It's not that its April 8 finale was its last episode—and it didn't know it. It's not that it was its least-watched episode of the season. It's not that, due to CBS' coverage that day of the Masters golf tournament, it didn't air until almost 11 p.m. in some parts of the country. It's that Nielsen, which doesn't count shows that air at 11 p.m. in some parts of the country, didn't include it in its weekly broadcast rankings—as if it never existed. And that, boys and girls, would be the opposite of a happy ending.