On May 14, 1989, NBC viewers watched the Keaton family’s hilarious antics in the popular sitcom Family Ties for the final time. The show’s ending was equally emotional and funny and provided the proper sendoff for stars Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman, Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter, Brian Bonsall and more of the beloved cast members. Keep scrolling for a look back at how the program came to an end. 

How Did ‘Family Ties’ End? 

The final episode of the series was titled “Alex Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Fox’s character, Alex Keaton, the eldest child of Steven and Elyse Keaton, got a bank job in New York City. 

How Did 'Family Ties' End? Sitcom Finale Explained 
Ubu Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock

After finding out he got the job, Alex famously jumped into his father’s arms. He later revealed that his job responsibilities weren’t just limited to one thing, and he would be “trained in every facet of the operation” by his new boss.  

Throughout the episode, viewers got to see him say goodbye to all of his friends and family members as he prepared for the next chapter of his life. While Elyse initially expressed hesitancy to see her firstborn go off on his own, she ended up coming to terms with his big move toward the end of the episode. 

Once the main cast members finished wrapping the final scene, they all took a final bow in front of the live studio audience. A roaring applause went on for several minutes to close out the successful seven seasons of the feel-good show. 

Why Did the Show End?

While Family Ties was a ratings hit, several of the characters felt it was time to move on and explore other projects. Fox’s film career took off with Back to the Future, Teen Wolf and Bright Lights, Big City and he was ready to tackle more exciting roles on the big screen. The producers also felt like each of the Keaton kids’ stories were properly told throughout the seasons.

“At the end of the sixth season, the producers came to us and said, ‘We’re only doing one more season.’ [We asked,] ‘Why? We’re a hit.’ [They said,] ‘Well, because it’s getting tougher and tougher for us to make stories. We’re running out of stories,’” Gross told Entertainment Tonight in June 2022 about why the show ended. “’We got Alex P. Keaton, we’ve taken him through high school, college, graduate school. He wants to conquer the world. He’s still living at home with mommy and daddy! It makes no sense.’ So, we ended after seven years.”