The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour

The general format of this show was the same as the original I Love Lucy format, except it was one-hour in length.

When Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz decided to call it quits after six hugely successful seasons of I Love Lucy, they planned to continue the format in hour-long specials on the CBS network. The Ford Motor Company agreed to finance five of them for the 1957-58 season, although Desi had originally wanted to produce twelve shows.

The show was not originally titled The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour; that name was used for the summertime network repeats of these hour long shows and has been used ever since in syndication. During the first season, the show was titled The Ford Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show after their sponsor. The remaining two seasons were produced after their sponsor, Westinghouse, and was orginally titled The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Presents The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show.

A new cartoon opening, as well as a modernized arrangement of the I Love Lucy show theme are created. The original shows were in fact, actually, seventy-five minutes in length; the only show in CBS history that is scheduled to run for that long. Desi didn't think the show could be done in justice for only sixty minutes, so he contacted the sponsor of the following program, "The U.S. Steel Hour", and asked to borrow 15 minutes out of the program's schedule. In return the program, which wasn't doing very well in the ratings, received its highest ratings ever.

The show came to an end upon the divorce of Lucy and Desi. Under a contract they had to be a married couple for the show, but upon the end of the contract, they ended the show and ended their marriage on May 4, 1960. If the Arnazes were not facing such dire personal troubles, and had a desire to continue, the format would have had to be changed to give the writers new focus. William Frawley was getting old and having trouble with his lines and Vivian Vance wanted to do more glamorous acting assignments.

At the end of the season, the show was canceled, Desi Arnaz choose to retreat from the public eye, while Lucille Ball plunged into a movie (The Facts of Life, 1960) and a Broadway musical (Wildcat, 1960). It was widely assumed that both of their television careers were finished. But Time would tell a different story!

Read the Episode Guide View the Show Index