(UPDATED WITH FINAL NUMBERS) The 72nd Tony Awards saw big wins for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and The Band’s Visit last night on CBS, as well as a short but censored bout of swearing from Robert De Niro against Donald Trump – but that didn’t seem to make a lot of impact as Kanye West and the Kardashians owned the night.
Punctuated by a crowd pleasing performance from Bruce Springsteen himself, the otherwise overall pretty lively Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban hosted annual celebration of American theatre didn’t see a lot of ratings change from last year.
The final numbers have the Tonys bringing in a 1.0/4 among adults 18-49 and 6.32 million viewers. Without any of the strong sporting competition of recent years, that’s an 11% demo increase and a 4% uptick in total audience.
With a mild 4.8 result in the metered markets, the 8 -11 PM 72nd Tony Awards of Sunday are steady with the 2017 results. Drilling into the numbers, the live event was up a tiny 2.1% over the Kevin Spacey fronted 71st Tony Awards of June 11, 2017. That primetime ceremony of last year also had the distinction of facing NBC’s deciding game of 2017 Stanley Cup Finals with the wining Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.
Up against such icy action, the 2017 Tony Awards went on to deliver a fairly modest 0.9/4 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.05 million viewers in the final numbers.
To give some sporting context to those numbers and more, the 2017 and the ratings surge of the Hamilton infused 2016 Tony Awards were both up against NHL playoff games, while the 2015 Tony Awards went head-to-head with that year’s ultimately Golden State Warriors winning NBA Finals. With this year’s Washington Capitals triumphing Stanley Cup decided on June 8 and the GSW winning 2018 NBA Finals over on June 9, the Tony Awards were literally the biggest game in town last night – yet gained virtually no traction.
Actually, let me take that back – there was a bigger competitor, literally and perhaps figuratively.
Even without big league sports rivals, in the fast affiliates the Tony Awards wasn’t even the highest or second highest rated show on the Big 4 last night. Those distinctions went to the season premieres of Celebrity Family Feud (1.7/7) and The $100,000 Pyramid (1.2/5) on ABC.
In one sense, it all makes sense as there were certainly more dramatic possibilities on the Steve Harvey hosted game show last night than most of Broadway last year. With a clearly happy Kanye West and Kim Kardashian unsuccessfully leading their extended side of the always attention grabbing, to put it mildly, clan against matriarch Kris Jenner, Kendell Jenner, Khloe Kardashian and more of the reality fam, CFF had all the answers for the Disney-owned net last night. Coming off the recent media spectacle of West’s latest album release and Kim convincing Donald Trump last week to turn his pardon power to Alice Johnson, the near perfectly timed Season 5 opener was back a winner with a 13% rise in the key demo over the Kelly Clarkson and Amy Schumer led Season 4 debut of June 11 last year.
Pyramid was even with its premiere of last year while, in an indication that even Tony viewers were clicking away towards the end, 10 PM’s To Tell The Truth (0.9/4) was honesty quite strong with a 50% demo surge over its last opener of last summer.
While ABC won the overall demo race with a 1.1/5 result, viewershipwise, the night belonged to CBS with 6.70 million tuning in. However, while the Tony Awards contributed, it was 60 Minutes (0.7/3) who once again delivered the big number for the House of Moonves with an audience of 7.85 million.
A new Dateline (0.5/2) on NBC was even with last week and the double dose return of Ghosted (0.4/20 on FOX saw the comedy take a 75% demo dive from its last original back in January 7 up against the Golden Globes and more.
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