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Theater took a front seat Sunday night with the 66th annual Tony Awards, airing on CBS and hosted for the third time by Neil Patrick Harris. Although broadcast competition on the night mainly consisted of newsmagazines and unscripted shows, the ceremony still dropped in the ratings, according to fast nationals.
The three-hour telecast averaged 6 million total viewers, down nearly 1 million from the 6.9 million who watched in 2011 when the Tonys went up against the NBA Finals, and posted a 1.0 in the ad-coveted 18-49 demo, a 17 percent dip from its previous effort.
Here’s the hour-to-hour breakdown for the Tonys: 8 p.m. (6.6 million, 1.2), 9 p.m. (6 million, 1.0), 10 p.m. (5.5 million, 0.9).
Dominated by the musical Once, which took home eight awards, the Tonys didn’t do much to boost CBS’ stock; the network placed fourth in 18-49 but was No. 1 among average viewers in primetime on a night where cable fare ended (Mad Men) or began (True Blood) their seasons. The Tonys lead-in 60 Minutes (7.9 million, 1.1) tied for first at 7 p.m. with a repeat of ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos (4.9 million, 1.1).
ABC won the night among 18-49 with motivational reality programming. Secret Millionaire (5.4 million, 1.5) and a two-hour Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (4.6 million, 1.5) edged out the competition in their respective time slots, with the latter gaining viewers and rising in the demo for the last hour. ABC posted a 1.4, followed by NBC (1.3).
NBC touts that Dateline (5.5 million, 1.2) posted its highest demo rating since late April and its biggest audience since late March. Compared with the previous week, the newsmagazine is up 20 percent (0.2). A repeat of America’s Got Talent followed.
Fox placed third with a full night of reruns of its animated block.
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William Jackson Harper
Friends: The Reunion