The 70th annual Tony Awards now has an opening night: CBS, which has aired the awards since 1978, said this morning the 2016 ceremony is set for June 5 live from New York City. The Broadway honors for distinguished achievement are presented jointly by the Broadway League, representing producers and theater owners, and the American Theatre Wing, the nonprofit service agency that initiated the awards and owns the name (officially, the Antoinette Perry Awards, named for the actress/producer who was the first head of the Wing). Eligibility for this year’s edition will be limited to shows opening in one of Broadway’s 40 designated theaters during the 2015-2016 season through April 26, 2016. Nominations will be announced April 29.
The 2015 Tonys broadcast on June 7, hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, drew a tough 0.9/3 rating facing competition from Game 2 of the NBA Finals (6.1/19), falling 25% in the key 18-49 demo from the year before. On New York’s WCBS-TV though the numbers were up 44% — the best the Tonys have done in its hometown in three years. Despite perennial rumors to the contrary, CBS chief and occasional actor Les Moonves has frequently stated his commitment to keeping the telecast at the network.