CBS to Air Spruced-Up Version of One of the Most Enduring TV Shows of All Time TVWeek

CBS has announced plans for a special broadcast to unveil a new take on an old TV hit -- one of the most beloved and most enduring sitcoms of all time, "I Love Lucy."

The network has set a Dec. 20 air date for the "I Love Lucy Christmas Special," a one-hour holiday program featuring two newly colorized classic episodes of the show: the rarely televised "Christmas Episode" and the all-time favorite "Lucy's Italian Movie," which includes the famous grape-stomping sequence.

The two episodes "were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed," the network said in its announcement. "The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set -- at the beginning and end of the hour -- with no interruption between the episodes."

The shows star Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, with Vivian Vance and William Frawley playing the Ricardos' friends and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz.

The network describes "The Christmas Episode" this way: It "finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos' son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks (in black-and-white to emphasize the time lapse) recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet, and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward."

That episode aired in December 1956 and has not been included during the show's many rebroadcasts over the years. It was thought to be "lost" until CBS rediscovered it in 1989, the network said.

"'Lucy's Italian Movie' finds the Ricardos and Mertzes visiting Rome, where Lucy is invited by a famous Italian film director to appear in his next picture, 'Bitter Grapes,'" the network said. "Mistakenly thinking the film concerns the wine industry, Lucy sets out to visit a local vineyard where she soaks up more local color than intended."

The original run for "I Love Lucy" was on CBS from Oct. 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957. The series was voted "the best TV show of all time" in a poll of viewers last year by People magazine and ABC News.

lucy-grape-stomping-colorized.jpg"Lucy's Italian Movie"