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The striking Writers Guild of America denied a request for a waiver to allow for the Tony Awards to air on CBS and stream on Paramount+ on June 11, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
This week, this season’s Tony Awards Management Committee — which is comprised of eight representatives of the Broadway League, including president Charlotte St. Martin and well-known producers Jordan Roth and Scott Sanders, and eight representatives of the American Theater Wing, including president Heather Hitchens — formally petitioned the Writers Guild for such a waiver, noting how much financially struggling Broadway shows depend on exposure from the Tonys telecast for a box office bump. (This season, shows hanging on in hopes of a Tonys bounce include the front-running musicals Some Like It Hot and Kimberly Akimbo and the play Leopoldstadt.)
The management committee has set an emergency meeting for Monday morning to determine the best path forward.
The two alternative courses of action apparently being weighed are: (a) stick with the date of June 11 and hold a non-televised presentation of the awards, perhaps in the form of an intimate dinner or press conference with nominees and media in attendance; or (b) postpone the ceremony until the strike comes to an end and the show can be televised.
Representatives of the Broadway League, which includes many producers, theater owners and operators, are more inclined to support the first option, as many shows may not be able to survive for months on end without the imprimatur of a Tony on their marquees and promotional materials.
The American Theater Wing, however, is apparently more open to a delay, as that organization is seen as the guardian of the Tony Awards brand, which would not be helped by a non-televised presentation.
While the Tony Awards honors the Broadway industry, which many in the field argue is separate from the television and film industry and still needs the awards show as part of its post-pandemic recovery, the ceremony is broadcast on CBS and Paramount+, which are members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
The 76th Annual Tony Awards were announced for June 11 at the new location of the United Palace in New York City’s Washington Heights. (The ceremony has traditionally been held at Radio City Music Hall). Ariana DeBose had been tapped to host the ceremony for a second year in a row.
The show was scheduled to be split into two parts, with a pre-show, entitled The Tony Awards: Act One, airing live on Paramount Global’s FAST platform, Pluto TV, from 6:30-8 p.m. ET/ 3:30-5 p.m. PT. The main ceremony was 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+. The pre-show hosts had not yet been announced.
This is the second time in recent history the Tony Awards were disrupted. The 74th Tonys, honoring the 2019-20 Broadway season, took place in September 2021, 15 months after it was originally scheduled. Theaters had been closed for much of that time period, but the ceremony also coincided with marketing around the comeback of Broadway.
At least one other awards show has been disrupted by the WGA strike so far. The MTV Movie Awards was moved to a pre-taped show from a live ceremony on May 7, after the WGA had said it would picket the awards show. Host Drew Barrymore also dropped out before the show pivoted to pre-taped, in solidarity with the WGA. The guild canceled its picket after the formatting changed.
Caitlin Huston contributed to this story.
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