'How I Met Your Mother' finale ratings deliver series record

'How I Met Your Mother' finale ratings deliver series record
Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti on the finale of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother." (Ron P. Jaffe/Fox Television)

Maybe "How I Met Your Mother" fans don't mind their comedy laced with a little divorce and death. 

CBS' sitcom signed off after nine seasons with a one-hour finale Monday night that surprised fans with some failrly downbeat story twists, at least by the standards of network TV. No spoilers here, but let's just say that not everyone's marriage was built to last.

But a lot of fans turned out to see how it ended: A series record of 12.9 million tuned in, according to early numbers from Nielsen. And that number could well go higher in final ratings coming later Tuesday.

The time-jumping finale showed how Ted (Josh Radnor) - the "I" in the show's title - met his wife-to-be (Cristin Milioti) after the wedding of longtime buds Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders).

"HIMYM" also reached its highest rating in the crucial adults aged 18 to 49 demographic on Monday, with an impressive 5.8 rating/16 share.

At 9 p.m., the new sitcom "Friends with Better Lives" opened with 8 million viewers, retaining just 62% of the "HIMYM" lead-in.