''Sopranos'' finale wins its timeslot. Some 12.5 million viewers tuned in to watch Carmela boot Tony, one of the highest audiences ever for HBO

By Gary Susman
Updated December 11, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
The Sopranos:Barry Wetcher

The Sopranos

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Even if you’re among those who thought this season of ”The Sopranos” lacked the old fire, you still turned in to Sunday’s finale to watch Carmela kick Tony to the curb. At least, that’s what the Nielsen numbers show. The season finale was the most-watched program in its timeslot on any channel, broadcast or cable. It drew 12.5 million viewers, marking the second-largest audience in HBO history. The largest? The 13.4 million who watched the ”Sopranos” season premiere in September.

Overall, Variety reports, the 13-episode season drew an average of 11 million viewers, up from 9 million for season 3, which aired during the less competitive springtime months in 2001. Numbers like that continue to spark talk that the show would continue beyond next fall’s fifth season, which creator David Chase has said will be the show’s last. However, the Associated Press reports, HBO declined to comment Tuesday on the program’s future.

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The Sopranos

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