'I Love Lucy' still delivers for CBS

More than 60 years after its debut, the iconic sitcom brings millions of dollars to the network's coffers.

By Kim Peterson Sep 21, 2012 11:32AM
Credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Caption: Lucille Ball in a 1952 episode of 'I Love Lucy'CBS (CBS) is pinning high hopes on a new lineup of shows out this fall, but "I Love Lucy" is still one of the network's stalwarts.

The company's CEO, Leslie Moonves, said Thursday that "I love Lucy" still brings the company about $20 million a year in revenue. Cable and local channels broadcast runs of the show.

Is "I Love Lucy" seeing a resurgence more than 60 years after it debuted? This year, the sitcom was voted the best television show of all time in a survey by ABC News and People magazine, beating out "Seinfeld" and "Cheers."

"I Love Lucy" had a relatively short life, running from 1951 to 1957, but it topped the ratings charts in most of those years. It morphed into a comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Moonves expects CBS to hold its lead as the most popular network. It will have the next Super Bowl, and it is expected to lead in the 18-to-49 demographic that is so important to advertisers, The Los Angeles Times reports.

"We are the least-sexy network, we get less buzz," Moonves said Thursday at a Goldman Sachs (GS) conference in New York, according to the LA Times. "All we do is get more viewers and more money."

Shares of CBS have been on a spectacular run, soaring more than 70% in the past year. Shares traded at $37.77 Friday.

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Tags: cbsGS
Sep 21, 2012 2:43PM
Just take ALL shows OFF and replace with other shows -- Andy Griffith, That Girl, Here Come the Brides, Police Woman, Night Stalker, Gomer Pyle, USMC...I can go on and on -- I Love Lucy being in that of course!!!!  We NEED these OLD shows as the new shows ESPECIALLY REALITY SHOWS are nothing but TRASH!!!!!   THANK YOU I LOVE LUCY!!!!!
Sep 22, 2012 2:28AM
I would only rather watch all 150+ episodes of i Love lucy  for the rest of my life than watch one episode of Here comes Honey Boo Boo. Just sayin..
Sep 22, 2012 12:40AM
Trumps any of the trash that's on the tube nowadays!
Sep 21, 2012 4:14PM

"I Love Lucy" isn't great because it still earns $20 million a year.  It's great because of Lucille Ball's wonderful comic timing, the friendship between Lucy and Vivian Vance, and the vulnerable and obvious love she had for Desi.  It was real and authentic.  And of course, the show made us laugh out loud. 

Sep 21, 2012 2:23PM
I still enjoy  I love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Dick Van Dyke, etc. Simpler times, good laughs. I always wanted Mr. Ed and Arnold the pig to visit!
Sep 21, 2012 5:01PM
You could watch I Love Lucy and laugh with your children without worrying about foul language, smutty innuendos, people shacking up..just laughs about life. You watched two people who loved each other and did til the day they died, even with a divorce.  But even with that, they were dignified in their lives. Today it's so different.  So much filth out there. It seems they struggle to produce a show filthier then the previous one. Take the reality shows off the air so we can breathe in cleaner air.  The Khardashians are one of the biggest offenders.  You have one sister known for her sex tape and rear end, that possibly the mother pushed to sell, I've read, one sister who shacks up on occasion with her boyfriend and has 2 kids from him, two younger sisters on birth control in their early teens, a father who looks like he never knows which way is up or down and the mother again, who wants to meet up with the guy she cheated with during her first marriage.  Sure isn't an Ozzy and Harriet plot, but what a relief that would be from low class dung that's constantly thrown our way by the writers and producers of such tripe.
Sep 21, 2012 8:19PM
Best TV show ever.  Two brilliant actors and producers.  Desi Arnaz invented the TV rerun by taping the "I Love Lucy" show so their kids could watch them when they grew up.  He also set up two cameras on a TV set at opposite ends, one on each actor that would turn off/on when talking, instead of one camera in the middle that went from actor to actor as they talked.  Desilu Studios produced the first SciFi show "Star Trek", the first law show "Perry Mason" and several other successes.  They were married for 20 years, too bad they didn't last longer.  They were a hell of an incredible power couple.  When Desi died, Lucy said, "he was the love of my life".  So sad.
Sep 22, 2012 1:16AM
i love Lucy was and is one of the best wholesome t.v. shows ever, still makes me laugh to this day, look at all the CRAP thats on t.v. now, nothing but garbage.
Sep 21, 2012 4:13PM
Yes, I Love Lucy. (Then and now)

     I also "miss"  Lucy, too  As far as I am concerned, her style never goes out of style.  Just ask Roseanne, Whoopi, or any other lady comic. She also launched Carol Burnett  That redhead was the pioneer, and rightly so.

(1911-1989)  Forever R.I.P, Lucille Ball
Sep 22, 2012 1:56AM

   The 50's and the 60's had some of the best comedian's ever, even Red Skelton refused to use offensive humor / words in his act,

believing it was unnecessary and inappropriate.

   I still enjoy seeing all the re-runs of those old shows, sure, some of the humor is dated and predictible, but there's nothing wrong

with good, clean entertainment.

   At least the dialog doesn't have to be censored at every other word.

Sep 21, 2012 4:30PM
The glory days of the usa, long GONE
Sep 24, 2012 4:11AM

This show still makes me laugh...I Love Lucy!!! It was and still is a hit show even without sex, nudity or vulgar people. Now thats true talent!

It's sad that TV has become "Honey Boo Boo, The Kardashians & Jersey shore. A bunch of untalented people having sex, fighting, being disgusting and faking a marriage for money. I guess when you have NO talent you have to be stupid, nasty and flash your crotch for ratings!

Everyone has already stated it. Bring back the good old days and wholesome, quality television. Whatever network does it first will be the winner.
Sep 21, 2012 6:03PM
I watch "I Love Lucy" every morning b/4 going to work..IMHO it is the best sitcom that has ever aired..ever..anywhere!!  Both Lucy and Desi were brilliant...my understanding is that their marriage was frought with many problems..but..in the end, they loved each other in their own way..I feel sure that Lucie and Desi, Jr. do reap the monetary rewards of this amazing TV work of art...RIP Lucy and Desi..you will always be in our hearts..
Sep 21, 2012 9:08PM
I agree, best ever. That one woman was funnier than any 5 people on any show from today. And still just as funny today.

I watched I love Lucy on reruns when I was a kid in the sixtys.

 Now 40 years later, I found it on cable one morning, and now its what I watch with a cup of coffee ,  before work.  

40 years and Im still LMAO


What a great show.

Sep 21, 2012 2:49PM

television writing is a lost art.  With the occasional hit on pay networks and PBS, the rest of the prime time is filled with phone reality shtick and out of work models pretending to be lawyers cops, doctors etc.

Sep 21, 2012 7:50PM
VitaVitaVegimin! Still laughing about that one.
Sep 21, 2012 10:07PM

60 year run! Why? Its clean fun comedy, no politics, themed, and actually

had some decent acting. These were made during some tough times

in the world also. With everything thats going on it would be nice to see

some more quality programming that is fun, and I mean fun for everyone.

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