‘I Love Lucy’: Why Did the Hit Series End in 1957?

by Clayton Edwards
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I Love Lucy was one of the best sitcoms to ever hit the small screen. It changed the way sitcoms were made. At the same time, it helped to build Hollywood into the beating heart of American broadcast television. More importantly, the show entertained millions of viewers every week. To this day, the show remains incredibly popular in syndication. However, the show only ran for six seasons. Then, it all fell apart. All good things must come to an end.

There are several reasons that I Love Lucy came to an end. Even the popularity of the hugely influential sitcom couldn’t keep it going past those barriers.

Why I Love Lucy Came to an End

You would think that I Love Lucy had the momentum of a speeding train. Just about everyone loved the show. In fact, when the show went on a commercial break, the nation’s reservoirs would dip. People across the country were waiting for the ad breaks to go to the bathroom.

I Love Lucy took people into the life and home of America’s favorite married couple. No matter what life threw at the couple, they stayed strong through it all. As the kids say, Lucy and Ricky were relationship goals.

However, behind-the-scenes, things weren’t so great. Lucy and Desi loved one another deeply. That wasn’t enough to overcome the troubles in their marriage, though. The biggest issues were Desi Arnaz’s bad habits. He enjoyed drinking and other women. Lucille Ball filed for divorce the day after the show ended.

At the same time, I Love Lucy writers were pulling from a limited well. After six seasons of creating Lucy and Ricky’s crazy life, they were spent. Happy Days hadn’t invented “jumping the shark,” yet. So, the writers didn’t have anywhere else to go with the show.

On top of all that, the cast of I Love Lucy had grown tired of the weekly grind. It seemed like they were constantly working on the show. So, like the writers, the cast didn’t have much left in the tank.

William Frawley and Vivien Vance, who portrayed Fred and Ethel Mertz didn’t care for one another. That wasn’t a major issue. However, it was one more nail in I Love Lucy‘s coffin.

So, no one thing killed I Love Lucy. It was a combination of an empty creative well, a burnt out cast, and Lucy and Desi’s failing marriage.

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