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Old 03-18-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
LittleRickyII
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Default "Here's Lucy": Extremely Low Ratings???

Has anyone seen the Here's Lucy entry on Wikipedia? The section on the show's ratings really caught my attention, saying that "[d]uring the show's last two seasons, ratings were extremely low," and goes on to say that "producers saw that ratings wouldn't recover for a show already on the air for six years."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here%27s_Lucy

Who writes this stuff? Do people even know what they're talking about when they refer to "producers"? Lucille Ball was, in reality, in charge of this show. Her husband was officially the executive producer, and her cousin, Cleo, was the producer. These elusive "producers" were, in fact, Lucille Ball, herself, and her closest of kin. The official reason the show ended in 1974 was that Lucy had not had a break in a couple years. Almost immediately after the 5th season ended production, she went into production for six months on Mame, which ended just as production for the 6th season began. And as soon as the 6th season ended production, she went on an exhaustive national tour to promote Mame. About the time that ended, she would have had to return to work for a 7th season. So that is a plausible explanation. And after all, Lucille Ball had wanted to end the show after the fifth season but CBS talked her into returning for a sixth.

There is also a rumor -- equally credible -- that CBS canceled the show. Often networks cancel long-running shows because ratings are trending downward and the show is perceived to be past its prime. That could be the case here, which doesn't mean that, at this point, the ratings are "extremely low," which is ridiculous. (A similar thing happened to Archie Bunker's Place in 1983; it's ratings were still high but trending downward, so it was canceled.) Interestingly, the week in February 1974 when it was announced Here's Lucy wouldn't be back in the fall, it placed 12th in the ratings.

The person who wrote this points out that "The Lucy Show ranked in the top 5, in 4 of its 6 seasons, Here's Lucy only once ranked in the top 5." So is that the standard? Anything less than 5th place is considered "extremely low"? Here's Lucy wound up in 15th place in the fifth season. By any standard, a show in 15th place is considered a hit an it's an enviable position to be in. Even it's 29th place standing in Season 6 would be coveted by most shows.

Here's a good graphic of the 1973 fall schedule:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973%E2...ision_schedule

Looking at this, you can easily see the shows that are hits as they are all color coded, as follows: the highest-rated show is colored in green; the top ten highest-rated shows are colored yellow; the next ten to round off the top 20 are colored in cyan; and the next ten, rounding off the top 30 most-watched programs are colored magenta. Here's Lucy is colored in magenta as it was one of the top 30 shows. You can see that most shows are not colored at all because most of the shows that appeared on the schedule that fall were not in the top 30; Here's Lucy was. And from what I can see, several of the shows on the fall schedule that placed lower than Here's Lucy got renewed for the 1974-75 season: Mannix (CBS); Medical Center (CBS); The NBC Monday Movie (NBC); Marcus Welby M.D. (ABC); Police Story (NBC); ABC Movie of the Week (ABC); Ironside (NBC); The Odd Couple (ABC); ABC Movie of the Week (ABC); Emergency! (NBC); and NBC Saturday Night at the Movies (NBC).

I count 71 shows on that fall schedule. There were probably another 10 or 20 added at mid season (e.g., Happy Days and Good Times, which debuted in January and February 1974). So Here's Lucy ranked 29th out of some 80 or 90 shows that season, which puts it squarely in the top half of shows on that season, and perhaps in the top third. So if it's ratings were considered "extremely low," what does that say about the ratings for the vast majority of other shows that aired that season that had even lower ratings???

Last edited by LittleRickyII; 03-18-2012 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:51 AM   #2
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There are a lot of factors that go into how a show is cancelled. It isn't all about ratings, but it has to do with production costs as well as research and trending. The reality is if "Here's Lucy" was No. 15 in its fifth season then dropped to No. 29 in its sixth season, that is considered a major dip, especially for a mainstay like Lucille Ball TV shows.

My theory has always been the 4th season of "Here's Lucy" sealed the show's doom. The quality of that season was so poor, it is no surprise that CBS was a little hesitant, and the fact that it continued for two more seasons, even though episodes in the 5th and 6th seasons were quite good, is surprising.

"Here's Lucy" was canceled by CBS....otherwise, there is no question Lucy would have returned for a 7th season if CBS had wanted it.

I remember reading that Carroll O'Connor was livid when CBS canceled "Archie Bunker's Place" in 1983. It ranked No. 23 that season, which was not bad ratings, but I would say production costs outweighed ratings. O'Connor had been one of the highest paid actors on TV since the mid-1970s. CBS likely decided it could save costs with another production, with lesser earning actors and figured, "Archie Bunker" has been on weekly TV for 13 years, let's do something cheaper and create the next big hit show. The longer a show is on, the more it costs to make, and in television, it comes down to the Almighty dollar....really, nothing more.

I work in the industry. I know the thinking......
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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I think Lucy just wanted to semi-retire. I'm sure she could have done a 7th season if she wanted to.
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:14 PM   #4
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The fact that anybody can write a Wiki article has always made it a very suspect source. Anybody with better information can correct mistakes as they find them, but I've heard of factual corrections being challenged and reversed!
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:02 PM   #5
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Default Lucy cancelled herself

CBS couldn't have been hesitant about renewing Here's Lucy for season five and six. First of all season four finished with a 23.7 rating and 10 place rating tying The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Second, during the fifth season of Here's Lucy which finished number one in its' timeslot and in 15th place, it was Fred Silverman that went to Lucy's home and asked Lucy for a sixth season. I think Lucy agreed more out of sentiment than anything else. I really don't think she wanted to do a sixth season and many of the episodes showed it. I think the sixth season is the weakest season of all Lucy's seasons. I thought season four was quite good. Lucy should have quit at the end of season five. She is the only TV performer to grace the top 10 shows 16 times and if you count the top 15 shows 17 times.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjt100
I think the sixth season is the weakest season of all Lucy's seasons. I thought season four was quite good.
You make some good points, but with this I heartily disagree. I acknowledge there were some weak episodes in the sixth season. But there were also several very strong episodes, and most were at least entertaining and fun. And I much prefer the more mature portrayal of Lucy Carter from the last two seasons. The fourth season had no strong episodes, in my opinion. And several went waaay off the reservation with those ridiculous Lucy-versus-beast plots that never worked. Fortunately, the fourth season was the last time she did any shows like that (perhaps she finally realized how terrible they were). S4 had several I think were just horribly bad (e.g., Candid Camera, Lucy in the Jungle, Lucy's Lucky Day, Lucy Makes a Few Extra Bucks), and lots of scenes that were long and, honestly, painful and embarrassing to watch. S6, while there were several weak episodes, I don't think any were terrible. Several of the sixth season episodes are among my top ten favorites from the entire series. None of the fourth season episodes even rank in my top 25 favorites. Ultimately it's a matter of personal opinion, but S4 is just painful to me.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:56 PM   #7
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Default Second Half of Here's Lucy Sixth Season Episodes Were Much Better

The first half of "Here's Lucy" sixth season episodes were terrible and it also reflected it in the ratings. Through January 14th 1973 Here's Lucy had a rating of 19.2 and wasn't even in the Top 30. That's because most of the shows during the first half season seemed rushed and messy. The four standouts during the first half season were:
1) Lucy Gives Eddie Albert The Old Song & Dance (Very Good)
2) Lucy & Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty (which got killed in the ratings by Lucy's hit 1968 comedy "Yours, Mine & Ours" (Very Good)
3) Lucy's Tenant w/Jackie Coogan (Good)
4) Lucy & Chuck Connors Have A Slumber Party and (Very Good)
5) Lucy Plays Cops & Robbers (Very Good - the second best episode of season six)

The rest of the shows were just horrible which included:
1) Lucy & Danny Thomas (the worst season opener for any Lucy series)
2) The Big Game w/O.J. Simpson (awful)
3) Lucy The Peacemaker w/Steve Lawrence & Eyde Gorme (awful)
4) Lucy, The Wealthy Widow w/Ed McMahon (awful)
5) The Bow Wow Boutique (awful)
6) Lucy And Andy Griffith (tied for for the worst episode of season six)
7) Tipsy Through The Tulips w/Foster Brooks (tied for the worst episode of season six)
8) The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon (awful)
9) Harry Catches Gold Fever (awful)
10) Lucy Is A Bird Sitter w/Arte Johnson (awful)
From January 17 through March 23 1974 the second half of "Here's Lucy" grew 1.6 rating points and earned a 20.8 nielsen ratings with the following episodes:

1) Meanwhile, Back At The Office (good)
2) Lucy The Sheriff (didn't like at all)
3) Lucy Is N.G. As An R.N. (one of the best episodes)
4) Milton Berle Is The Life Of The Party (good even though I don't like Milton Berle)
5) Mary Jane's Boyfriend (very funny)
6) Lucy & Phil Harris Strike Up The Band (very entertaining music outing)
7) Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball (very funny)
8) Where Is My Wandering Mother Tonight? (A CLASSIC) and
9) Lucy Fights The System (another great episode)

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm one of Lucille Ball's greatest fans and I believe she is the reigning queen of comedy and nobody and come close to here record. Unfortunately, season six, in my opinion, had only 13 good episodes and 11 horrible episodes. I know that "Here's Lucy" always had about 4 episodes from each season that weren't good and I agree that the jungle episodes make the Andy Griffith episode seem like a classic. But for some reason the second half season episodes were superior to the first half and that enabled "Here's Lucy" to finish in 29th place with a 20.0 rating and 31% share of audience. "Here's Lucy was also number one in its' timeslot for the second half of the 1973-74 season. I will defintely buy season six because I Love Lucy, the 11 episodes which I though were good and for the bonus features. I thought "Here's Lucy" would never have made it to DVD. I have to applaud MPI for releasing Here's Lucy on DVD because a lot of love was put into this underrated series which I believe is a classic.

Last edited by rjt100; 03-28-2012 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:31 PM   #8
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Hmm, major difference of opinion here. Those 10 episodes from S6 you list as horrible, most of them I like and don't think are horrible at all: The Big Game; Lucy, the Wealthy Widow; The Bow Wow Boutique; Tipsy Through the Tulips; Frankie Avalon; Gold Fever; and Bird Sitter. I'm not saying they're anywhere close to her greatest, but I at least find them enjoyable. I do agree that the Danny Thomas episode and (especially) the Andy Griffith episode are quite bad, though not to the level of some of those S4 stinkers. I would also add to "Lucy, the Sheriff" and the Eddie Albert episode (which you like ). So there's four episodes I don't like from S6; the other 20 I find enjoyable. As for S4, Lucy's Replacement; Lucy and the Little Old Lady; Lucy's Bonus Bounces; Lucy's Lucky Day; Lucy and Candid Camera; Lucy in the Jungle; Lucy Makes a Few Extra Dollars; and Lucy and the Mountain Climber I think are all horrible. That's a full third of the season. None from S4 are laugh-out-loud funny to me, while I can think of several from S6 that consistently make me laugh a lot.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:59 PM   #9
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I just finished watching season 5 and I must say for myself, I found the series greatly improved over season 4. Lucy's broken leg gave the show a new emphasis and a reliance on the dialogue rather than just physical schtick. I found Harry to be even more likeable this season (which was so refreshing over how Mr Mooney in TLS just grouchier with each season). I remember watching the frozen custard stand episode originally in primetime and it is still funny today.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:55 AM   #10
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I agree with Jude,I found season4 of "Here's Lucy" quite dull inplaces and the Lucie Arnaz pilot attempt was one of the worst things I've ever seen!

Epiosdes I did like on season four,were the Dinah Shore and Ginger Rogers epiosdes

Season five strangely did get a new lease of life with Lucy's real life broken leg,we got a break form the endless office rows of Lucy and Harry,love the Eva Gabor one.

The Phyllis Diller one is an odd one,sorry but the man playing her,certainly didn't sound like her.

Not seen any season 6 yet,so can't comment but I do think season 5 did give the show a new lease of life.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjt100
CBS couldn't have been hesitant about renewing Here's Lucy for season five and six. First of all season four finished with a 23.7 rating and 10 place rating tying The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Second, during the fifth season of Here's Lucy which finished number one in its' timeslot and in 15th place, it was Fred Silverman that went to Lucy's home and asked Lucy for a sixth season. I think Lucy agreed more out of sentiment than anything else. I really don't think she wanted to do a sixth season and many of the episodes showed it. I think the sixth season is the weakest season of all Lucy's seasons. I thought season four was quite good. Lucy should have quit at the end of season five. She is the only TV performer to grace the top 10 shows 16 times and if you count the top 15 shows 17 times.
She might have figured I Love Lucy (not counting TLDCH) and The Lucy Show each had six seasons, so why not have a sixth season of Here's Lucy, then for sure she could retire!
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jude The Obscure
I just finished watching season 5 and I must say for myself, I found the series greatly improved over season 4. Lucy's broken leg gave the show a new emphasis and a reliance on the dialogue rather than just physical schtick. I found Harry to be even more likeable this season (which was so refreshing over how Mr Mooney in TLS just grouchier with each season). I remember watching the frozen custard stand episode originally in primetime and it is still funny today.
True, that broken leg screwed up her Mame dancing capabilities but it was one of the best things that happened to her for her series which finally had consistency and stopped relying on slapstick and finally went with more clever dialogue.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:45 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=scotsguy]I agree with Jude,I found season4 of "Here's Lucy" quite dull inplaces and the Lucie Arnaz pilot attempt was one of the worst things I've ever seen!

True, how they ever expected to sell that DRIVEL i'll never know.
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