Here's Lucy is Lucille Ball's third network television sitcom. It ran on CBS from 1968 to 1974.
Here's Lucy Edit
Though The Lucy Show was still hugely popular during the previous (1967-68) season, finishing in the top five of the Nielsen Ratings (at #2), Ball opted to end that series at the end of that season and create a new show, as she had just sold Desilu Productions (which owned and produced The Lucy Show), to Gulf & Western. Ball did not wish to continue to star in a show that she no longer owned. Here's Lucy was produced by Ball's newly-created production company, Lucille Ball Productions. Desilu's successor Paramount Television co-produced the first season, but sold its stake in the show to Ball afterwards. As a result, it is currently the only show starring Ball that is not owned by PTV's successor CBS Paramount Television (PTV gained rights to her final show, Life with Lucy, after then-parent Viacom acquired co-producer Spelling Entertainment).
The program's premise changed from The Lucy Show. Ball's character lived in Los Angeles, California and was named Lucy Carter. In this new incarnation, she had two children named Kim and Craig, played by her real life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. She worked for an employment agency run by her brother-in-law Harry, played by Gale Gordon in a role similar to his Mr. Mooney role from The Lucy Show. Mary Jane Croft, who had costarred on the last three seasons of The Lucy Show, also became a regular on the new series, and Ball's longtime costar Vivian Vance also made numerous guest appearances through the series' run.
Guest Appearances and Episodes Edit
Perhaps the most famous episode was one from 1970 in which Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor guest star in a storyline involving their famous diamond, which becomes stuck on Lucy's finger. Ball and Burton reportedly did not get along, as he found Ball's rigid perfectionism grating and he subsequently wrote about her in extremely unflattering terms in his memoir. During its run, Here's Lucy featured a number of famous guest stars, many of whom were Ball's real life friends, often playing themselves (as had also been the case during the final three years of The Lucy Show). Among the famous stars, Ann-Margret, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, George Burns, Carol Burnett, Johnny Carson, Petula Clark, Vincent Price, Tony Randall, Dinah Shore, Danny Thomas, Lawrence Welk, Flip Wilson and Shelly Winters all appeared during the run of the show. In addition, Lucille Ball appeared as herself (in an episode in which Lucy Carter enters a Lucille Ball look-alike contest; the episode featured then fairly new technology, enabling Ball to appear on screen with herself).
In 1972, Ball suffered a leg fracture in a skiing accident and as a result, spent much of the 1972-73 season in a full-leg cast. (This was written into to the show, with the Lucy Carter character also breaking her leg.) The "slapstick" was toned down for the remainder of the series, given Ball's decreased ability to perform physical comedy, as a result of her injury.
Final Episode Edit
Here's Lucy ceased production at the end of the 1973-74 season, thus ending nearly twenty-three continuous years of Ball appearing weekly on television. Though it was widely reported at the time that it was Ball's decision not to continue (as she wanted to pursue other projects), a number of sources through the years have stated that it was CBS that chose not to renew the series for the following season. The ratings had fallen during the final season, though Here's Lucy did still finish in the top thirty at the end of the 1974 season. (The network was also in the process of reinventing its image, having already replaced much of their old guard television product with more contemporary fare like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Ball was the last performer from TV's classic age who still had a weekly series at the beginning of 1974.)