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TV Land Launches "I Love Lucy" on Golden Anniversary
With Restored Elements Not Seen Since Original Broadcast

Will Run 50 Episodes in Weeklong Marathon
Salute to Shows' "50 Greatest Laughs"

September 19, 2001

TV Land will celebrate the addition of the most beloved sitcom in television history, I Love Lucy, by presenting the series as it hasn't been seen since its original run - replete with animated elements from the show's original broadcast in which Lucy and Ricky Ricardo are depicted as cartoon figures in the opening credits and throughout the show.

The restored animation, part of TV Land's I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary weeklong marathon, kicks off on Monday, October 15th at 9 PM (ET/PT) with "Lucy and Ethel Go To a Night Club" (photo, left), the very episode that premiered at 9 PM on October 15, 1951. TV Land has restored animation to all 179 episodes of the series, 50 of which will be showcased in prime time during the marathon.

For generations of fans who grew up watching I Love Lucy in local syndication, the restored elements mark the first time many viewers will see the series without the signature opening of the I Love Lucy heart, one of the hallmarks of the show's historical syndicated run. The weeklong marathon will emphasize episodes featuring the "50 Greatest Laughs" from the series, as selected by TV Land and TV Guide for the magazine's cover story (on newsstands on Monday, October 8).

Throughout the week of October 15th, TV Land will present the series with the original animated elements before the show settles into its Monday through Friday 9:00 PM timeslot on October 22nd (the show will also air at 9:30 AM and in Twice as Nice from 5-6 PM - all times ET/PT). Viewers tuning into TV Land will not see one key element to the animation: the network has removed original sponsorship animation including that which endorses the sale of cigarettes by the original on-air sponsor of the show.

This special presentation of this landmark series kicks off on TV Land with the premiere episode airing uncut and without commercial interruption. Larry W. Jones, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TV Land opens the telecast with a historic perspective on this classic series and explanation as to why the cigarette endorsement was removed.

"Fifty years ago, I Love Lucy set the standard for situation comedies with their comedic brilliance and production ingenuity," stated Larry W. Jones, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TV Land. "We are especially excited to bring back the original animated opens which have not been attached to the episodes for decades."

Selected by TV Land and TV Guide, the I Love Lucy "50 Greatest Laughs" will include such memorable episodes as the infamous grape fight at the wine vat, Lucy's commercial for Vitameatavegamin, Lucy and Ethel's brief stint in a chocolate factory, and the birth of Little Ricky. The exact order of the "50 Greatest Laughs" will be revealed in the October 13-19 issue of TV Guide. TV Guide will create several collectible covers depicting various images from the show.

TV Land has brought on four national advertisers to sponsor the 50th Anniversary Launch - Subaru, Proctor & Gamble, Hoover, and Arby's.

Now seen in dozens of countries and in several languages, I Love Lucy continues to be the most enduring sitcom in television history. During its run on CBS, the series repeatedly garnered several key Emmy Awards including Best Comedy, Best Comedienne and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.

Now seen in over 64 million U.S. homes, TV Land was created in April, 1996. The network's broad mix of sitcoms, dramas, westerns, variety shows and classic commercials - which TV Land refers to as Retromercials® - have made TV Land the highest-rated cable channel launched in the last five years on both a household and A25-54 demo basis.

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Original materials © 2001 Lucyfan Enterprises. All rights reserved.
"I Love Lucy" is copyrighted by and a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.