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I LOVE LUCY: 50th Anniversary Special

The following was posted 12/09/01:

From Claude Courval:

I have just one comment to make about your mention of how well the two CBS specials did in the ratings: Carol did very well because she was on a 10 0'Clock opposite nothing else of great interest. That was fine as she used to be on at 10 on Saturdays. Why didn't CBS put Lucy's special on the date of the anniversary -- October 15th? Maybe after King of Queens and Raymond, she would have been Number One or Two for the week. No, they put her on in November Sweeps to save their ass -- as she did for over 20 years -- opposite X-Files premiere, "Saving Private Ryan," and everything else including the proverbial kitchen sink!

I was very happy the special still did as well as it did, in spite of all this -- even though I hated most of it. As a Lucy fan it's always hard not to be critical of anything Lucy is involved in. I just thought it could have been so much better. (I did not care for) Roseanne singing (and) people who had nothing to do with Lucy filling time. Thank God for the clips!... Where were all the people involved in your great conventions, the stars who were there in the 1950s, actually doing the show? Where was Keith (Thibodeaux)? (The special) was good, but could have been so much better. "Lucy and Desi: A Love Story" and "Finding Lucy" were much better. God I miss the days when the real Lucy was around!...

By the way, do you know how I could send an e-mail to Lee Tannen to tell him his book is one of the best I've ever read on Lucy? Thanks, and best regards...

* * * * *

Thanks, Claude, for your comments... You are correct in the fact that The Carol Burnett Show was almost always a 10PM vehicle... It started on CBS in 1967 on Mondays at 10PM, where it aired for four seasons. You are also correct in what you say about the Lucy special being used as what is known as "a good soldier" -- i.e., something sent in to combat the stiffest of competition.

When the special was first discussed at CBS last winter, Lucie and Desi Jr. wanted the show to air Monday, October 15th at 9PM. (The fact that the anniversary fell on a Monday seemed like too good a happenstance to pass up!) But once the network starting laying out its schedule, the Powers-that-Be decided they could use the extra muscle the show would bring during the highly competitive November Sweeps. And Lucy delivered: the special gave the network its highest ratings in the Sunday 9-11PM hours in 18 months! You are also correct in assuming that if the show could do this well against heavy competition, it could have done even better with lighter competition on Monday night...

I am not at liberty to publish Lee's e-mail address, but if you send a message to him in care of the fan club, I will see that he gets it. Send it to:


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