Tonys Broadcast Finds Path Forward as Producers Meet WGA Requests
UPDATED: Tony Awards Productions has altered the upcoming awards ceremony to conform with requests made by the Writers Guild of America, the union announced Monday evening. As a result, the WGA no longer has plans to picket the show.
On Friday, the Writers Guild of America denied a request for a strike waiver from the show’s producers, meaning the Tonys wouldn’t be televised on June 11. Earlier Monday, it was announced that producers of the Tonys would file an appeal of the WGA’s waiver denial. A source tells Variety, “Everyone is still trying to see if there is a workable solution.”
Now, it seems that the group has been able to negotiate a potential path forward for the telecast. Ariana DeBose was set to return as host, but it is believed that she would’ve exited if the event was icketed.
“Responsibility for having to make changes to the format of the 2023 Tony Awards rests squarely on the shoulders of Paramount/CBS and their allies,” reads the WGA’s release announcing Tony Awards Productions’ answer to its requests. “They continue to refuse to negotiate a fair contract for the writers represented by the WGA. As they have stood by us, we stand with our fellow workers on Broadway who are impacted by our strike.”
It’s understood that the change came about in part after a vigorous lobbying effort by the Broadway community, including some of the WGA’s sibling entertainment unions that serve Broadway. The WGA’s stance that threatened the viability of the awards broadcast drew a fair amount of criticism over the weekend. Moreover, WGA East members in particular are naturally sympathetic to their writer counterparts on the Great White Way, which is still pulling out of the economic devastation wrought by two years of the COVID-mandated blackout.
The Tony Awards are scheduled to take place at the United Palace in New York’s Washington Heights. The ceremony was slated to start at 8 p.m. ET and air live on CBS, as well as the streaming service Paramount+.
A Tonys rep did not comment for this story.
Although the viewership of the Tonys has dramatically decreased in recent years, the broadcast is still considered a great cheerleader for Broadway with nominations and wins helping boost ticket sales and interest in touring companies.
“I was honored to serve as host last year and even more so to be asked back! So looking forward to celebrating this incredible season and the people who make the work happen,” DeBose said when her return as host was announced April 12. “Here’s to adding some uptown flavor to the magic of the Tony Awards!”
The 2023 nominations were announced May 2 with “Some Like It Hot” nabbing the most noms with 13, including best musical.
“Shucked” and “& Juliet” earned nine nominations followed by “Kimberly Akimbo” scoring eight. The Jessica Chastain-led revival of “A Doll’s House” scooped up eight nominations as did Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt,” and the political satire “Ain’t No Mo.’”
The race for best musical revival includes “Parade,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods” and “Camelot.”
The Tony Awards, administered by the American Theater Wing, were first handed out in 1947 and first telecast in 1967.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.
J. Kim Murphy contributed to this report.
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