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The Tony Awards is moving the first part of the ceremony to the free ad-supported streaming service Pluto.
In recent years, this part of the ceremony, which traditionally features creative awards, has streamed on Paramount+, the paid streaming service under Paramount Global. By moving to the free service, the Tony Awards can potentially reach a wider audience, while promoting Paramount Global’s newer offering, Pluto.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Pluto TV to kick off this year’s Tony Awards celebration,” said Jack Sussman, executive vp, specials, music, live events and alternative programming at CBS. “This cross-company partnership allows us to utilize the breadth of the Paramount Global family to bring the best of Broadway into homes of more viewers than ever before.”
“We’re excited to spotlight this live, exclusive preshow event for Broadway’s biggest night,” said Jeff Grossman, evp of content and business operations for Paramount Streaming. “Our partnership with CBS continues to bring even more programming from across the Paramount ecosystem to Pluto TV audiences for free.”
The Tony Awards: Act One will air from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. ET/ 3:30-5:00 p.m. PT, with free access on smart TVs, streaming devices, mobile apps or online by going to Pluto TV and clicking on the Pluto TV Celebrity channel. This will be followed by the main awards presentation and ceremony, which is set to air on CBS, from 8 p.m.-11 p.m. ET/5 p.m.- 8 p.m. PT and also stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Ariana DeBose is set to host the three-hour broadcast, with the ceremony taking place on June 11 at the United Palace in New York City’s Washington Heights. Nominations for the 2023 Tony Awards will be announced May 2.
The host and exact programming for The Tony Awards: Act One has not yet been named. Last year, this part of the ceremony was hosted by Darren Criss and Julianne Hough.
The televised ceremony was split in two for the first time in fall 2021, when the pandemic-delayed ceremony for the 2019-2020 awards was held. At the time, Audra McDonald and Leslie Odom Jr. split hosting duties for the four-hour event, with the first two hours, streaming on Paramount+, containing the bulk of the awards. The following two hours celebrated the return to Broadway, after theaters had been closed during the pandemic, and presented the biggest awards.
The move to Pluto comes as FAST streaming services gain in popularity and become an important complement to many networks existing paid streaming services. In September, Paramount’s Pluto TV became the first free, ad-supported platform to crack the Nielsen Gauge, reaching 1 percent of all TV viewership in the U.S. for the month. Its competitor, the Fox-owned Tubi, also cracked the gauge in February 2023.
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