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A combination of Broadway phenomenon Hamilton and likely interest in how the show would handle news of the day’s horrific attacks in Orlando, Fla., saw Tony viewership surge on Sunday night.
Early numbers give the CBS telecast of the awards show 8.7 million viewers and a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49. Those are respective jumps of 35 and 60 percent from last year’s Tonys, making for the Broadway kudos’ most-watched showing in 15 years — following a similar bump from overnight returns.
It’s a welcome change of pace for the Tonys. The theater awards have suffered dramatically in recent years, no thanks to basketball. Last year’s NBA Finals went head-to-head with the show, while this year’s outing faced only breaking news from Orlando, the Stanley Cup Finals and repeats.
To be certain, the dramatic jumps for the James Corden-hosted Tonys are more impressive as percentages than raw viewers. The Tonys remain a modestly rated awards show.
As for the competition, early numbers have Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals likely set to best the Tonys among adults 18-49. Before time zone adjustments, the game is already averaging a 1.6 rating in the key demo.
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