Love of Charleston cuisine is a topic of conversation among cast members of "Army Wives" as they chat in the upcoming finale of the locally based Lifetime network series.

"The food is rich," said Brian McNamara, who portrayed Gen. Michael Holden.

So much so that after the first season of the drama, McNamara found himself on the receiving end of some unsolicited advice from a few co-workers regarding his dining habits.

"Brian, we love your work. Really, could you watch what you eat?" he said.

After seven seasons, the last show will air at 9 p.m. March 16, Lifetime said Thursday. The two-hour special, "Army Wives: A Final Salute," is a retrospective that includes reflections of the cast, show executives and fans.

An advance copy of the program includes snippets of past episodes woven around the actors expressing their emotions about the program.

"I felt like it was such an important show that meant so much to so many people," said Sterling Brown, who played Dr. Roland Burton.

For viewers, the finale is bittersweet.

"I'm very sad to see it end, but I'm grateful for what I think it did for military families and the spotlight it gave us," said Marine spouse Betsy Post.

"Army Wives" followed the struggles, dreams and friendships of a diverse group of women living with their spouses and families on an Army post.

The show drew 2.5 million viewers weekly in its last season.

"It was a positive image for South Carolina and the Lowcountry," said Marion Edmonds, spokesman for the state Film Commission.

The show spent $124 million with area vendors, and the hospitality business reaped 157,000 room nights, he said.

Edmonds said the cast often supported veterans' issues in local appearances.

"Army Wives" employed hundreds of locals and South Carolinians as professionals and paid extras, he said.

Some of the actors bought houses here, he said.

"They had a strong, steady, loyal audience. That's an amazing length of time for a cable series," he said.

South Carolina offers filmmaker incentives, such as tax credits, a wage rebate of up to 25 percent, a 30 percent supplier rebate and a sales and use-tax exemption on all goods. Fee-free filming locations owned by the state are an option.

The state has been the backdrop for more than 100 feature films and 70 TV movies, series and pilots, according to the Film Commission.