Tony Awards viewership jumps to 4.3 million

Tony Awards viewership jumps to 4.3 million

According to Nielsen, the CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards drew 4.3 million viewers on Sunday night, the second year in a row that the broadcast saw a ratings jump.

A modest increase in viewership at a time where people are fleeing television broadcasts qualifies as a victory these days. And the fact that the Tonys gained audience share is part of a trend where award shows have stopped bleeding out after years of heavy losses. Both this year’s Oscars and Grammy Awards have also increased viewership.

Still, for the Tonys, which is a relatively niche ceremony compared to the more popular award shows, Sunday’s ratings represent the third-lowest viewership total since records have been kept. Last year’s ceremony attracted 3.9 million visitors.

The fact that the Tonys took place at all was no small effort. Just a month ago, the television festival was in jeopardy after a union representing thousands of striking film and television writers – who have been on strike since May 2 – against major Hollywood studios, arguing that despite a boom in streaming production Their wages have frozen – threatened to strike the incident.

The writers employed aggressive tactics to hurt the studio during the strike, and a live broadcast on CBS seemed poised to be a good target. (The writers had already successfully disrupted the MTV Movie & TV Awards last month, which prompted the cancellation of the live ceremony; MTV and CBS share the same corporate parent, Paramount.)

But a group of playwrights lobbied leaders of the Writers Guild of America, the union representing writers, arguing that canceling the event would hurt the theater industry as much as it would hurt CBS. The Tony Awards represent an important marketing tool for Broadway as it is still making a slow recovery from the pandemic. Given the Tonys’ relatively low viewership, the show has always been more of a prestige game for CBS than a profit machine.

The WGA bowed out, and the end result was an awards show that relied heavily on live performances and introductory videos, and went without scripted material or pre-written bits. The presenters did little more than introduce themselves and announce the nominees and winners. The striking writers had to shout repeatedly throughout the night.

wga leaders expressed approval On Monday morning, the union’s eastern branch tweeted, “Many congratulations and many thanks to the Tony Award winners who stood with #WGAstrike in their speeches. #WGAstrong pin-wearing attendees and last night’s unscripted Thank you to everyone who showed solidarity with the authors during the award show.

The unscripted ceremony, which was hosted by Arianna DeBose, was mostly well received. Jesse Greene, theater critic for The New York Times, said, “Previous Tonys telecasts have often wasted their ‘bumpers’ – the end of a big performance or awards show and the interval between commercials – with disjointed scripted chatter. Guess what?” ?No script, no nonsense.”

In 2021, the Tony Awards posted a record drop of 2.8 million viewers when the pandemic-altered ceremony aired in September, three months later than its traditional mid-June slot. The highest-rated Tony Awards in recent years was in 2016, when a “Hamilton”-fuelled ceremony drew 8.7 million viewers.

According to Nielsen, the top-rated markets for Sunday’s telecast were New York, West Palm Beach, Fla., respectively. And there was San Francisco.

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