‘Bewitched’ Stole Plotlines From ‘I Love Lucy’ Thanks to Producer William Asher

I Love Lucy castI Love Lucy cast
‘I Love Lucy’ cast | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

There are so many ways that I Love Lucy changed industry standards and influenced the future of television comedy. The series premiered in 1951 and almost instantly became a smashing success. It followed Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her on-screen and real life husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) as they navigated life in the city.

It was the first scripted show to feature a strong female lead plus ensemble cast, which paved the way for future women-led projects. The producers used a multi-camera setup in front of a live studio audience and was the first to do so. I Love Lucy was so successful that many entertainment professionals sought to mimic it after the final season in 1957.

One new series took their copying to the next level by using identical storylines.

‘Bewitched’ featured a female lead just like ‘I Love Lucy’

Elizabeth Montgomery in BewitchedElizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched
Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York in ‘Bewitched’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Like I Love Lucy, the show Bewitched focused on a housewife and her husband as they navigated the trials of life. Only this time, the wife was a witch with magical powers. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as Samantha Stephens alongside Dick York as Darrin Stephens.

Even with such an unexpected concept, Bewitched quickly became one of the top-rated shows on television. They did it through clever use of storytelling, all under the direction of co-producer and director William Asher. And he used his experience on I Love Lucy to help inform his ideas.

William Asher reused storylines from ‘I Love Lucy’ on ‘Bewitched’

Lucille Ball in Job SwitchingLucille Ball in Job Switching
Lucille Ball in ‘Job Switching’ | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

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Most television shows pride themselves on being unique. Though there’s plenty of overlap in the industry, it’s generally considered bad form for writers to copy a rival series for characters, settings, and dialogue. That’s what makes it so surprising that Bewitched borrowed heavily from another popular comedy.

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I Love Lucy and Bewitched had very different premises — one explored a New York City housewife with showbiz aspirations while the other featured a witch wife married to a mortal man. It turns out there’s a logical explanation for why there are so many similarities between these two classic sitcoms.

‘I Love Lucy’ is one of the most influential sitcoms in history

‘I Love Lucy’ cast | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

There are so many ways that I Love Lucy changed industry standards and influenced the future of television comedy. The series premiered in 1951 and almost instantly became a smashing success. It followed Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her on-screen and real life husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) as they navigated life in the city.

It was the first scripted show to feature a strong female lead plus ensemble cast, which paved the way for future women-led projects. The producers used a multi-camera setup in front of a live studio audience and was the first to do so. I Love Lucy was so successful that many entertainment professionals sought to mimic it after the final season in 1957.

One new series took their copying to the next level by using identical storylines.

‘Bewitched’ featured a female lead just like ‘I Love Lucy’

Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York in ‘Bewitched’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Like I Love Lucy, the show Bewitched focused on a housewife and her husband as they navigated the trials of life. Only this time, the wife was a witch with magical powers. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as Samantha Stephens alongside Dick York as Darrin Stephens.

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Even with such an unexpected concept, Bewitched quickly became one of the top-rated shows on television. They did it through clever use of storytelling, all under the direction of co-producer and director William Asher. And he used his experience on I Love Lucy to help inform his ideas.

William Asher reused storylines from ‘I Love Lucy’ on ‘Bewitched’

Lucille Ball in ‘Job Switching’ | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

RELATED: ‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball Didn’t Love Fan Favorite Episode ‘Lucy Does a TV

Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet

      

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