TV Media Insights

Wow: CBS Scores Close to 9 Million Viewers for a Sitcom That’s More Than 50 Years Old

Dec 8, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Talk about having legs. A comedy series that’s more than a half-century old delivered big numbers for CBS Sunday night, when a special airing of “I Love Lucy” programming brought in 8.71 million total viewers, TV Media Insights reports, citing Nielsen overnights.

CBS aired its second annual “I Love Lucy” Christmas special, leading out from “60 Minutes.” This year’s “Lucy” special featured colorized versions of the show’s Christmas special and the classic episode “Job Switching,” with the famous conveyor belt sequence.

The program pulled a 6.2/9 in households, leading out from an 8.3/13 for “60 Minutes.” The “Lucy” special had a 1.4 preliminary average rating in the key demo of adults 18-49.

“I Love Lucy” debuted on CBS in 1951 and became one of the biggest success stories of the early TV era. After ending its original run in 1957, the show was repackaged numerous times and has remained on television virtually in perpetuity via syndication.

I Love Lucy-Job Switching-colorized“I Love Lucy”: “Job Switching”


  1. How sad that they colorized it. Why didn’t they go all the way and do facial replacement with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler?

    • That’s an idea for next year, but Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have contracts with NBC, not CBS.

  2. The colorized episodes gave viewers, especially the younger viewers, an additional reason to watch a show from 50 years ago. The colorized episodes give the show new life for a younger generation of viewers.

    Viewers can always turn the color down, on their TVs, if they want to watch the episodes in black & white

  3. There are plenty of movies and shows of similar age or older that large chunks of Americans will simply not watch because it’s old. The colorization does little to alleviate that. There is no evidence color bridges the generation gap. This we do know: previous special airings of episodes of Lucy in B&W – including the Kinescope of the long-lost pilot – and colorized are ratings bonanzas for CBS. It’s all about how funny the show is after all these years.

  4. The secret is not the color, it’s the brilliance of the performers and the HONESTY of the original writing. If you try to be funny, you never will. DANNY SIMON, late older brother of NEIL taught me that over a five year period. People being themselves can be out right hysterical. Lucy and Vivian Vance and William Frawley and Desi Arnaz were so amazing week after week. But first, the writing must be incredible to start with.

  5. Sorry, but coloriing “I Love Lucy” should be illegal. It is a great show based on its own comedy merits. No one did it better. Color takes away from the genius the show was. I refused to watch it. Show it in its original B&W and I will be there. I thought the lesson was learned long ago when Ted Turner colorized “Cassablanca” and viewers rejected it.

  6. Unfortunately I missed it since I didn’t know about it, and I go to church.
    But I love the I Love Lucy series. It was clean, and funny.
    And some of my episodes were:
    Where Lucy & Ethel was wrapping chocolate.
    Another one is where Lucy was stomping the grapes.
    And there was an episode with Harpo & Lucy, just to mention a few.
    She was good.

  7. Although I am much more a fan of “The Lucy Show” (of which I now have all 6 seasons on DVD) and “Here’s Lucy,” and *not* “I Love Lucy,” it *was* encouraging to see the people who do like the show helped to make the special a ratings success – a *true* victory for *clean,* family entertainment.

    I hope this will serve as a lesson to the “Hollyweird elite” of today to turn out what viewers *really* want to see, *not* what they think we want to see.

  8. Who cares if it’s colorized, or not! It’s funny, and however the “younger generation” (which I am part of and watched ILL since I was a kid) sees it, so be. Kids have to start somewhere, so why not with the pinnacle of classic TV? Lucy Ricardo goes to the beat of her own drum…I like that message for the younger kids: Be yourself, and have fun (and if you must, drag your best friend into it).

  9. You know no one mentions Lucys show she did later in the 60s it was just as funny” She is single and works at a office. Its really different and I love how, independent she was. I love I love Lucy but I hate how dumb she acts it gets annoying and she was treated like a child. So sad so many people still act like that.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)