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Along with all of the traditions and expectations that come with the holiday season, you can be sure that your TV will be full of repeats and giant marathons to take you into the new year. Wednesday night, or Christmas Eve Eve if you will, was full of previously-aired programming, but one particular special rose to the top of the primetime pack and became the most-watched show of the night: the I Love Lucy Christmas Special. If you listen closely, you can hear not only creatures stirring, but also CBS execs figuring out a way to continue tapping viewers’ love for Lucille Ball.
Wednesday nights are usually taken over by the likes of Survivor and Modern Family, but CBS pulled out its colorized two-pack of I Love Lucy episodes and entertained over 7.4 million viewers, which easily made it the top program of the night by over 2 million people. As well, it was tied for second place as far as the key 18-49 demographic goes, sharing its 1.1 rating with a repeat of the ratings grabber Adele: Live in New York, which brought in a total audience of 5 million viewers.
For comparison, the ratings for the I Love Lucy special would have easily been notable on a night when all the networks were airing new episodes. CBS’ other Wednesday shows like Criminal Minds and Code Black regularly score higher numbers, but other series don’t do that well. And the special might have roped in even more peepers had it not aired directly against the must-watch standard How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which had a 4.9 million-strong audience and a 1.2 demo rating, according to TV By the Numbers.
So yes, even though the competition was basically absent, I Love Lucy bringing in night-winning ratings almost had to arch the eyebrows of CBS suits. As one of the most beloved shows in the history of television, I Love Lucy is generally regarded as one of those untouchable series that just can’t be rebooted, since Lucille Ball herself was so one of a kind. But CBS is quite fond of remaking the classics, and its current schedule has both Hawaii Five-O and The Odd Couple on it. Dare they attempt to go down this blasphemous path? Ricky would be so pissed if he found out.
On the flip side, maybe the success of I Love Lucy repeats will inspire the network to, instead of recreating the classic sitcom, just put it back in the programming schedule more often than once or twice a year. The yearly TV schedule is filled with gaps and hiatuses where repeats are usually aired, and it would be pretty rad to see treasured series of yore returning to our televisions. You guys would watch, right?