From the massive variety of Etsy merchandise to the beloved 2021 reunion, the enduring power of Friends is undoubtable. And yet its fandom was not enough to take the top spot of the most-watched New Year’s Eve TV episodes.
That honor goes to our favorite show about nothing. Racking up 29.3 million views, Seinfeld’s “The Millennium” takes the cake.
On Season 8 Episode 20 of the legendary NBC show, Kramer and Newman rival over millennium parties. Meanwhile, Jerry ends up in a complicated situation with his girlfriend and her mother over what numbers they appear at on one another’s speed dial; George tries to get fired from his job in as dramatic a manner as possible and Elaine takes a stab at running a clothing store.
Following the Seinfeld episode, Friends takes the next three spots with The X-Files rounding out the top five with “Millennium” (Season 4 Episode 5). The ranked Friends episodes include “The One with All The Resolutions” (Season 5 Episode 11), “The One with the Routine” (Season 6 Episode 10) and “The One with the Monkey” (Season 1 Episode 10).
On the other hand, Friends and The Office tied for the most searched TV shows on New Year’s Eve by state, with each being the top search for 17 states. The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Doctor Who follow with 7, 4 and 2 states each, respectively.
The five most-watched new year’s eve TV episodes all came from the ‘90s, particularly the second half of the decade, whereas the remaining 10 all aired in the aughts between 2005 and 2013.
It makes sense given USDish’s collection of data. To find the most popular episodes, the company focused the timeline to 1990 to 2021 and required over 1,500 IMDb votes; an IMDb rating of 7.5 or higher and the phrase “New Year’s Eve” in the episode description. The list was further narrowed by assessing the relative popularity of the shows during the most recent holiday season via Google Trends.
Other contenders included network favorites like How I Met Your Mother, Mad Men, Parks and Recreation and That 70’s Show. See the full graphics below.