We say in the television business, that "funny is money," and nothing has endured longer than I Love Lucy. This show was born out of Lucille Ball's desire to keep her Cuban bandleader husband Desi Arnaz off the road, as Desi was a bit of the ladies' man. When no network was willing to cast the thickly accented Desi as Lucy's husband, they used their own money to produce the pilot. In doing so, they created a comedy classic, one against which all other comedies are still measured.
For more on Lucy, read Why I Love Lucy, by Billy Van Zandt.