CBS to Air Tony Awards Through 2018

2012-22 REP QUOTES Neil Patrick Harris P

"Welcome, everyone, to the 66th Tony Awards! Or as we like to call it, 'Fifty Shades of Gay.'"

CBS will continue broadcasting Broadway's biggest night.

The network has inked a new broadcast deal with the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing to continue airing the Tony Awards through 2018.

The pact ensures the annual event highlighting Broadway's best remains in the CBS family, where it has been for the past 35 years.

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"The Tony Awards give viewers across the country the opportunity to experience the excitement of Broadway theater from their very own living rooms," said Jack Sussman, executive vp specials, music and live events at CBS Entertainment. "We're pleased to renew our commitment to the performing arts and look forward to continuing this great and long-standing partnership by bringing the best of Broadway to primetime television for many years to come."

The 67th annual Tonys will be broadcast Sunday, June 9 at 8 p.m. (live on the East Coast/tape delayed on the West Coast) on CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris returning to host for the fourth time. The How I Met Your Mother actor has earned Emmys for two of his three previous hosting gigs.

For CBS, the Tony Awards deal comes as live events such as awards shows and sports programming represent a ratings draw since both remain relatively DVR-proof. CBS in 2011 inked a 10-year agreement to air the Grammys though 2021.

Last year's Tonys averaged 6 million total viewers, down nearly 1 million viewers from the 6.9 million who watched in 2011, when the broadcast went up against the NBA Finals, and posted a 1.0 in the ad-coveted 18 to 49 demo, a 17 percent dip from its previous effort.

"We would like to thank CBS for their continued support of the Tony Awards," said Heather Hitchens, executive director of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League. "Their dedication to our community allows us to bring the finest of the Broadway season into the homes of our fans each and every year -- and also allows us to introduce the world of theater to new audiences across the country."

The June 2011 broadcast of the 65th annual Tonys earned four Primetime Emmys, including special class program; art direction variety/nonfiction programming; music and lyrics; and directing.

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