(UPDATED WITH MORE NFL NUMBERS) The much-nominated and tremendous Slave Play came up empty-handed and Jagged Little Pill’s Lauren Patten showed exactly what an acceptance speech should be Sunday night as CBS took the Tony Awards to a whole new stage of sorts.
Streamlining the ceremony for the 21st century in a manner the Oscars and others would do well to take notes from, Paramount+ and its corporate broadcast network cousin on Sunday night weaved a two-hour livestreamed 74th annual Tony Awards and, immediately following, the two-hour broadcast concert special The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!
Hosted by past Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom Jr, who was once in a little production called Hamilton, the two-pronged approach put the spotlight on the best of the 2019-20 theater season just as Broadway itself is finally reopening from the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, delayed more than a year because of Covid and delayed on the West Coast last night, the Tonys took a real hit ratings-wise. Even with NFL overruns bleeding into 60 Minutes (7.12 million viewers) and Big Brother (4.15M), the performance-rich The Tony Awards Present: Broadways’ Back ceremony snagged a mere 2.62 million viewers, according to Nielsen time zone-adjusted data. That marks the worst result ever for Broadway’s celebration.
In fact, as far as full apples to sliced apples can be compared, the 9-11 PM ET Tony Awards was down a hard 51% from the 73rd annual ceremony held on June 9, 2019. That Radio City Music Hall event hosted by James Corden was the previous low for the ceremony, with 5.4 million tuning in.
Of course, no matter how many tricks were up the Tonys’ sleeve Sunday night, and there were many, it just ain’t going to be your night when the Green Bay Packers take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football.
In the early numbers, NBC’s NFL flagship show tackled the rest of the night’s primetime titles to easily win the evening’s top spot. The dramatic game, which saw the nationally followed Packers top the 49ers 30-28 as time expired, drew a 3.8 rating in the 18-49 demo and 13.6 million viewers.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 27, 2021
As is the case with almost all live events including awards shows and sports, those SNF metrics will rise in the final numbers.
(UPDATE 2 PM: The near final score is in for SNF and the close Packers vs. 49ers gridiron match-up pulled in 20.2 million viewers on NBC. Those sets of eyeballs rise bop up to a Total Audience Delivery of 21.1 million when you add in streaming on Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms.
That TAD is the best NFL Week 3 result in 6 years when Payton Manning and his Denver Broncos teammates took on the Detroit Lions back in the record breaking 2015-2016 season. Year to year, this season’s SNF Week 3 is up 14% in TAD from when the Packers beat the New Orleans Saints 37 – 30 on September 27, 2020)
That said, The Simpsons (1.1, 3.33M) came in second with its Season 33 premiere Sunday night. The season opener, which kicked off Fox’s animation-filled Sunday, was down nine-tenths in demo rating and about 39% in viewership from last year’s September 2020 premiere. Fox also kicked off new seasons of The Great North (0.7, 1.79M), Bob’s Burgers (0.6, 1.59M) and Family Guy (0.6, 1.52M). The latter two were down from their previous season debuts.
ABC saw the premieres of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (0.4, 3.76M) and Supermarket Sweep (0.4, 2.51M), which also were down from their previous premieres. The Rookie‘s Season 4 premiere (0.3, 2.80M), down a tenth in the demo and 15% in viewership from Season 3’s January debut, closed off ABC’s quiet night.