Although the show ceased making new episodes several decades ago, Lucille Ball’s television comedy classic I Love Lucy still earns CBS close to $20 million in revenue every year, according to MSN Money. The show — which ran from October 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957 — continues to generate massive amounts of cash money for the network thanks to the program’s continued success through syndicated broadcasting on cable and local channels. Ball’s unique brand of humor apparently still resonates with audiences today.
Businessweek reports that CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves recently spoke at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York where he explained the value of I Love Lucy and the network’s older content. The advent of such streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have apparently been very kind to the folks at CBS, financially speaking.
“The world is a beautiful place, we’re going to get paid more and more and more,” Moonves said. Regarding old-fashioned syndication, he added, “Syndication is still the big dog here versus the online stuff.” Television programs such as the network’s hit CSI are relatively self-contained, which makes them valuable as a syndicated product. Serialized programs, on the other hand, tend to have more success on streaming platforms.
While I Love Lucy — which starred Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley — ended its original run in 1957, the shows remains just as popular today as it was in the 50s. According to Wikipedia, the classic sitcom was ranked one of best television show of all time by TV Guide, second only to Seinfeld. In 2007, Time magazine named I Love Lucy one of the best TV shows of all time. It’s no wonder that the series continues to make CBS an estimated $20 million per year.
Are you a fan of the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz comedy I Love Lucy?