“I Love Lucy” consists of 181 episodes spread across six seasons, as stated by the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown, N.Y., a nonprofit gallery dedicated to preserving the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
During its run, the episode titled “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” from season two, which aired on Jan. 19, 1953, drew an impressive 44 million viewers, according to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. Surprisingly, this episode garnered higher viewership than President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inauguration, which took place the following day. The museum’s records indicate that “I Love Lucy” had an audience of 15 million more viewers than the presidential inauguration.
In this particular episode, Lucy gave birth to Enrique Alberto Ricardo IV, affectionately known as Little Ricky. Interestingly, the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum reports that this episode was one of the earliest holiday specials in American television history.
For several years, the episode was excluded from regular rerun syndication. However, in 2013, it resurfaced in a colorized version, attracting 8.7 million viewers over the holiday season, as reported by the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.
According to “The ‘I Love Lucy’ Book,” a trivia book authored by Bart Andrews, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were paid $4,000 per episode.
Desilu Productions, the television production company founded by Ball and Arnaz in 1950, operated for a remarkable 17 years before coming to an end in 1967.
Eventually, the studio was acquired by Gulf+Western, a conglomerate specializing in clothing and mass media. Following the acquisition, it was renamed Paramount Television, as disclosed by Deadline Hollywood, an entertainment news website.