It's over. Ross and Rachel are back together. Everybody is happy and after a successful 10-year run, the hit NBC series Friends is done. Naturally, like a good friendship, the relationship doesn't end there. You have syndication to see you through. If the stars -- and sponsors -- align just right, you can always expect a reunion show down the line.

Thankfully for parent company General Electric (NYSE:GE), you also have worthy replacements. Late last year, it was easy to ponder NBC's vulnerability. It would be losing a pair of popular sitcoms in Friends and Frasier. How would it fill the void?

Fate smiled kindly for the network when The Apprentice proved to be a huge hit and a spin-off based on Matt LeBlanc's Joey character was announced. So NBC may be losing a critical hour of programming for its upcoming fall schedule but it's also gaining 90 minutes of weekly content that will be as close to a sure thing as one can get in television.

Disney's (NYSE:DIS) failure a couple of years ago when it was at the top of the heap came from relying on just one hit show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. NBC and Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) CBS pulled ahead by banking on a wider realm of properties.

Variety is the key here. With each of the six Friends stars pulling in seven-figure paychecks an episode, it's almost as if a change of Thursday night scenery will do NBC some good. Television shows are a lot like pro athletes. They expect larger salaries as they age to correlate with their acclaim, yet the smarter business move is often to turn to hungrier -- and cheaper -- shows. Perhaps that's why beyond The Simpsons, where voice characters don't have the same kind of negotiating pull as live actors, shows just don't last as long as they used to.

Friends making it through 10 seasons, and calling it quits while still on top, is a welcome anomaly. I toasted the show's characters with six stock recommendations last week. I guess now would be a fitting time to toast the show's cast, crew, and creators. Cheers. No, not the sitcom.

What did you think of the Friends finale? Should Rachel have gone to Paris? How well does this series conclusion stack up against the other shows that went out on top on their own terms? All this and more -- in the Television Banter discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz tired quickly of the show's theme song by The Rembrandts. He does own shares of Disney.