‘I Love Lucy’: Legendary Episode of Show Drew Higher Ratings Than a Presidential Inauguration

by Kayla Zadel

The American people might’ve voted for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but they loved Lucy. “I Love Lucy” outranked in viewership the night before the inauguration. And that’s because people tuned in to see the beloved comedian do something for the first time on broadcast television.

The sixteenth episode of the second season garnered 44 million viewers, meaning 72% of homes tuned their antennas to the legendary sitcom. Whereas, the Presidential inauguration of Eisenhower drew 29 million, according to MeTV. It was only the second time that the event was broadcast on TV. But it was the first time that the pregnancy of an actress was worked into a fictional character pregnancy.

However, due to the standards of the 1950s, the script couldn’t technically use the word “pregnancy.” As a result, they declared Lucille Ball was with child or “enceinte,” which means ‘pregnant’ in French.

This was what sent ratings through the roof at the time. In the episode “Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” Lucy Ricardo gives birth to her son, Little Ricky. But up until that point, the sex of the baby was kept secret. As a matter of fact, both the fictional and real genders were not revealed. Fans of the show were anxious to learn if Lucy was having a Little Ricky or a Little Lucy.

Lucy Gives Birth ‘Twice’

Lucy actually gave birth to Desi Arnaz, Jr. on the same day as his fictional “brother” Little Ricky. Just like her first child, Lucie, America’s favorite redhead delivered Desi Jr. via Caesarean. Dr. Joe Harris, who happened to also be the doctor’s name in the show, performed his C-sections on a Monday. What’s more, it’s the same day that the “I Love Lucy” birth episode aired on CBS. Therefore, the couple was able to keep the fluidity of the show and real-life in line.

“I Love Lucy” didn’t only draw in higher ratings during President Eisenhower’s inauguration. The same episode, five months later, drew in higher viewership than Queen Elizabeth II coronation.

‘I Love Lucy’ Movie in the Works

Earlier this year, fans of “I Love Lucy” received news that there would be a new movie coming out that is based on the classic series.

The movie, called “Being the Ricardos,” will focus on one of the most iconic couples to ever grace the TV screen, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Reports earlier this year shared that Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are being tapped to play the Ricardos. However, fans are not happy with the casting choice of Kidman. Critics think that Lucy-look-alike, Debra Messing would do the role better justice.

However, Lucie is sticking up for the casting team and defending their selection on choosing Nicole Kidman.

The movie, “Being the Ricardos,” will focus on one of the most iconic couples to ever grace the TV screen, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Aaron Sorkin is directing the film.

Read more about “I Love Lucy” on Outsider.com.