This was Television on May 20

1993: Cheers turns out the lights

One of the most popular sitcoms of the 1980s and a keystone of NBC’s ratings renaissance in that decade, Cheers concluded an 11-season, 275-episode run with a highly regarded series finale. After finishing dead last in the ratings among all network shows during its first season, the ensemble comedy about regulars at a Boston tavern went on to be a top-ten rated show for eight of the next ten years. Cheers won 28 Emmy awards and spun off another acclaimed sitcom in Frasier (as well as the less successful The Tortellis). -A.D.

Also on May 20

2003: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the horror/comedy/teen drama series that grew from a laughingstock premise to a cult classic to one of the most respected shows of its era, ended a seven-season, 144-episode run split between The WB and UPN. Buffy spawned a successful spin-off in Angel as well as an ongoing comic book extension, and helped launch the popularity of creator Joss Whedon.

Today’s Birthdays: Candace Bailey, host (31); John Billingsley, space doctor (53); Dean Butler, prairie dweller (57); Cher, songstress (67); Mindy Cohn, boarding school student (47); Matt Czuchry, lawyer (36); George Gobel, comedian (d. 1991); Tony Goldwyn, president (53); David Hedison, character actor (86); Timothy Olyphant, lawman (45); Tahmoh Penikett, Galactican (38); Bronson Pinchot, zany cousin (54); Dave Thomas, SCTVer (64).

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