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Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years

Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years

iabwayfan Profile Photo
iabwayfan
#1Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 9:15pm

LINK

Honest question. If this is accurate and last night was the 2nd lowest ever (3.5 mil) what needs to change? Is it important to the American Theatre Wing or the Broadway League for this to improve with the rise of social media? Just wondering. Also, are those 2 spikes due to the year prior RENT attracting new viewers and the year of excitement for Hamilton? Thoughts?

 

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TheatreFan4
#2Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 9:24pm

Nothing you do is going to change it, linear television has been on the downswing for the last decade. Award shows have always been on the lower rung of ratings and The Tonys have always been on the lowest rung of that. It remains on TV because it attracts a wealthy viewership to target ad buys at.

Updated On: 6/17/24 at 09:24 PM

ErmengardeStopSniveling Profile Photo
ErmengardeStopSniveling
#3Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 9:35pm

As I posted on a different thread:

There's a growing disconnect between the Broadway audience and the CBS audience. The average age of a ticketbuyer last year was 40. Meanwhile, on CBS, the MEDIAN viewer-age is 68.

This was not a ceremony for fans of TRACKER or YOUNG SHELDON or NCIS or ELSBETH. The ceremony felt skewed towards viewers in their 40s-and-younger, yet it's put together by people quite a bit older than that. Which kind of leaves us with a show geared towards nobody (one of many issues with last night's awful telecast).

 income demographics for CBS vs Tonys are also quite a bit off.

CBS has the Tonys through 2026 and after that point I assume the ceremony will be shopped out to other networks. With cable and linear TV quickly becoming a thing of the past, I'd be fine with it ending up on a streamer where there could be more flexibility about the length.

Also: The big problem with Ariana's opening monologue is that it read like a list of Broadway League talking points, and she spoke exclusively in generalities, which isn't going to draw people in. You NEED a funny person to host. Like with the Oscars, use the opening monologue to build tension and a narrative for viewers at home, and make lots of cutaways to the famous people in the audience! Any awards show that cannot laugh at itself should not exist.

Wick3 Profile Photo
Wick3
#4Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 9:38pm

iabwayfan said: "LINK

Honest question. If this is accurate and last night was the 2nd lowest ever (3.5 mil) what needs to change? Is it important to the American Theatre Wing or the Broadway Leaguefor this to improve with the rise of social media? Just wondering. Also, are those 2 spikes due to the year prior RENT attracting new viewers and the year of excitement for Hamilton? Thoughts?


"

The 1997 bump was due to Rosie O’Donnell hosting and promoting it during her daily talk show back in 1997.

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/03/theater/tv-ratings-for-tony-show-rise-35-percent.html

iabwayfan Profile Photo
iabwayfan
#5Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 9:46pm

 You NEED a funny person to host. Like with the Oscars, use the opening monologue to build tension and a narrative for viewers at home, and make lots of cutaways to the famous people in the audience!Any awards show that cannot laugh at itself should not exist."

I agree with this COMPLETELY.  That opening number finished, and I said to a friend that this is again another missed opportunity.  I also agree with the first posted response that maybe the show gets shopped around after the CBS contract runs out.  I don't know what it would look like, but maybe it's time to reinvent?

 

iabwayfan Profile Photo
iabwayfan
#6Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 9:47pm

Maybe it's time to get Jimmy Fallon on board!!!  :-)

iabwayfan said: "You NEED a funny person to host. Like with the Oscars, use the opening monologue to build tension and a narrative for viewers at home, and make lots of cutaways to the famous people in the audience!Any awards show that cannot laugh at itself should not exist."

I agree with this COMPLETELY. That opening number finished, and I said to a friend that this is again another missed opportunity. I also agree with the first posted response that maybe the show gets shopped around after the CBS contract runs out. I don't know what it would look like, but maybe it's time to reinvent?


"

 

Mr. Wormwood Profile Photo
Mr. Wormwood
#7Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 10:16pm

Anything on linear TV except the NFL is going to have a chart similar to that. Sitcoms, dramas, newsmagazines, other award shows, talk shows, late night shows. It doesn't matter. Linear TV viewing is not going to reverse the trend. Although the Tonys ratings have gone down, they're not that far off from a lot of shows. Whereas they used to be incredibly low relative to other things on linear TV. Now everything is just low.

So to answer the question of what needs to change, nothing in terms of reversing the viewership. It's not going to happen. But continuing things like putting it on Pluto and Paramount+ and making clips available on YouTube and social media all help with reach - possibly even a bigger reach than the linear viewers from 20 years ago.

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EDSOSLO858
#8Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 10:35pm

Mr. Wormwood said: "Anything on linear TV except the NFLis going to have a chart similar tothat. Sitcoms, dramas, newsmagazines, other award shows, talk shows, late night shows. It doesn't matter. Linear TV viewing is not going to reverse the trend. Although the Tonys ratings have gone down, they're not that far off from a lot of shows. Whereas they used to be incredibly low relative to other things on linear TV. Now everything is just low."

I’d say NFL / college football games and presidential debates and elections are the exceptions these days. 

 


Oh look, a bibu!

BoringBoredBoard40
#9Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 11:03pm

they need a host people actually know, if someone like Ryan Reynolds hosted the numbers would easily double 

Mr. Wormwood Profile Photo
Mr. Wormwood
#10Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 11:09pm

BoringBoredBoard40 said: "they need a host people actually know, if someone like Ryan Reynolds hosted the numbers would easily double"

100% the ratings would not "easily double." Tell me you know nothing about television ratings without telling me you know nothing about television ratings.

ErmengardeStopSniveling Profile Photo
ErmengardeStopSniveling
#11Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 11:18pm

The 2016 ratings were an anomaly because the only live performance from HAMILTON that had been available on TV before that was on the Grammys. So they were heavily advertising "see Hamilton perform live!" That show was the biggest sensation on Broadway in decades and the rare show to be in the broader conversation, not just theatre peeps.

It was also the first year that James Corden hosted, he was very popular at the time, and he delivered as a host.

Plus nominated stars like Sara Bareilles, Steve Martin, Jessica Lange, Lupita, Michelle Williams, Jeff Daniels, etc.

Updated On: 6/17/24 at 11:18 PM

BoringBoredBoard40
#12Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/17/24 at 11:19pm

Mr. Wormwood said: "BoringBoredBoard40 said: "they need a host people actually know, if someone like Ryan Reynolds hosted the numbers would easily double"

100% the ratings would not "easily double." Tell me you know nothing about television ratings without telling me you know nothing about television ratings.
"

go touch some grass my guy. 

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Broadway Flash
#13Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 1:37am

It was also Father’s Day and later than usual this year.  Lots of people are on vacation.  I didn’t see any ads for the ceremony either.  Stephen Colbert should absolutely host next year, I think he’d get the ratings up. 

Wick3 Profile Photo
Wick3
#14Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 6:17am

That’s true. Normally in recent years the Tonys was held the Sunday before Father’s Day. Not sure why it was held on Father’s Day this year. 

 

Kad Profile Photo
Kad
#15Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:03am

Hosts can make the show better or more enjoyable, but at the end of the day, if audiences aren't interested in what the show is actually about - the Broadway season- a host won't make a lot of ratings difference on their own.


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

Hairspray0901
#16Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:26am

Broadway Flash said: "It was also Father’s Day and later than usual this year. Lots of people are on vacation. I didn’t see any ads for the ceremony either. Stephen Colbert should absolutely host next year, I think he’d get the ratings up."

In addition to Father’s Day, House of the Dragon S2 premiered Sunday night. Not saying there’s much crossover in audience there but I’d assume a majority of people who might have been flipping channels were watching that at 9pm instead.

i just rewatched NPH’s “bigger” tony opening from 2013 and it’s insane how scaled down this year, and the past few years, have been compared to that. He made several jokes, musical theatre references, had singing, dancing, etc. He also had the hosting experience and the massive following from HIMYM. Tony’s need to find a new and BIGGER host than DeBose. 

iabwayfan Profile Photo
iabwayfan
#17Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:42am

Kad said: "Hosts can make the show better or more enjoyable, but at the end of the day, if audiences aren't interested in what the show is actually about - the Broadway season- a host won't make a lot of ratings difference on their own."

I think that's where my thinking was going.  Are there ways to make the show more "mainstream" and should it be?  Does it matter enough to the organizations putting on the show to attempt this change?  I know I just keep asking questions, but I do appreciate the kind discussion!

DramaTeach Profile Photo
DramaTeach
#18Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:43am

Much of what you’re all saying is true - TV viewership is down in general, but there are things that can be done to promote the show that were not. 

1) I saw no advertisements (TV, billboards, etc.) to promote this. Nobody in my circle knew it was happening.

2) Announce presenters/performers earlier. That way, all of those people can promote the awards on their socials to get people excited.

3) Include a mix of modern, young talent and the legends. Invite Bernadette, Patti (I know she’s not loved by all), Bette, etc. to mix it up with the younger talent. Let them pass the baton, so it appeals to all ages.

4) Get a host that people know. DeBose is known by Broadway people, and yes, she won an Oscar for it, but West Side Story was a box office failure, so the rest of the country doesn’t know her.

5) Choose a date that’s NOT Father’s Day!

These won’t solve all problems, but I think they’d help.

Peter Barker
#19Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:54am

Broadway is the smallest and most niche of the major award sectors and the people who watch the Tony Awards care about the Tony Awards. Most theatergoers (or even fans of awards shows) aren't invested in seeing who wins best lighting or costume design when they may have only seen/heard of one or two of the nominees. My suggestion is to make the show a true celebration of live theater with musical numbers and dramatic performances broadcast from their original Broadway stages. If the producers want to sell tickets, show the inside of the real Kit Kat Club and let audiences see what they're missing. 

Wick3 Profile Photo
Wick3
#20Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:54am

To increase viewership, it may help to have a host who has a popular talk show that has a built-in audience already. Folks like Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Hudson, etc.

This is why there’s that bump in viewership back in 1997 (Rosie O’Donnell hosting) and 2016 (James Corden hosting.)

Mr. Wormwood Profile Photo
Mr. Wormwood
#21Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:55am

iabwayfan said: "Kad said: "Hosts can make the show better or more enjoyable, but at the end of the day, if audiences aren't interested in what the show is actually about - the Broadway season- a host won't make a lot of ratings difference on their own."

I think that's where my thinking was going. Are there ways to make the show more "mainstream" and should it be?Does it matter enough to the organizations putting on the show to attempt this change? I know I just keep asking questions, but I do appreciate the kind discussion!
"

I feel like the Tonys have tried to make the ceremony "mainstream" for decades with minimal success. At this point, why not cater to the true theater fans when the ratings are going to be in the basement no matter what they do. The general public can (and will) still catch clips of performances on YouTube, etc without watching the full ceremony 

ErmengardeStopSniveling Profile Photo
ErmengardeStopSniveling
#22Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 10:58am

DramaTeach said: "Much of what you’re all saying is true - TV viewership is down in general, but there are things that can be done to promote the show that were not.

1) I saw no advertisements (TV, billboards, etc.) to promote this. Nobody in my circle knew it was happening. Of course there was advertising and press coverage leading up to it. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist :)

2) Announce presenters/performers earlier. That way, all of those people can promote the awards on their socials to get people excited. Hard to announce these people in advance because it’s not a lucrative gig nor is it anyone’s first priority and people drop out or say yes at the last second. There’s not much to promote, either, aside from live “get ready with me” content for a select demo of people. The novelty of seeing a celebrity on TV is gone in a social media age. 

3) Include a mix of modern, young talent and the legends. Invite Bernadette, Patti (I know she’s not loved by all), Bette, etc. to mix it up with the younger talent. Let them pass the baton, so it appeals to all ages. Just because someone doesn’t appear on the telecast doesn’t mean they weren’t asked! No doubt they tried for all the biggest names you can think of.

4) Get a host that people know. DeBose is known by Broadway people, and yes, she won an Oscar for it, but West Side Story was a box office failure, so the rest of the country doesn’t know her. This is the point we can all agree on. 

5) Choose a date that’s NOT Father’s Day! I don’t know if this means a thing. If people are interested enough, they’ll watch. House of the Dragon is probably a bigger factor than Father’s Day.

These won’t solve all problems, but I think they’d help."

 

ACL2006 Profile Photo
ACL2006
#23Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 11:14am

Curious why it was held on Father's Day this year? 

 

I do think they need a name as a host. DeBose is not a name and not even a Broadway name. Her agent is somehow keeping her career alive after her Oscar win. There were no big hits this year outside of MERRILY.


A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.

Mr. Wormwood Profile Photo
Mr. Wormwood
#24Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 11:18am

While I don't disagree that the Tonys need to move on from DeBose, there is very little evidence across all award shows for decades that hosts move the needle much (Rosie O'Donnell in 1997 is a notable exception along with a few others). Any "big name" host may improve ratings a bit but it won't be anything that notable.

DramaTeach Profile Photo
DramaTeach
#25Tony Award Viewership Decline Over the Years
Posted: 6/18/24 at 11:29am

ErmengardeStopSniveling said: "DramaTeach said: "Much of what you’re all saying is true - TV viewership is down in general, but there are things that can be done to promote the show that were not.

1) I saw no advertisements (TV, billboards, etc.) to promote this. Nobody in my circle knew it was happening.Of course there was advertising and press coverage leading up to it. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist :) Of course there was some, but I’m someone who’s pretty on top of social media and TV, so if I didn’t see it, it’s not a good sign.

2) Announce presenters/performers earlier. That way, all of those people can promote the awards on their socials to get people excited.Hard to announce these people in advance because it’s not a lucrative gig nor is it anyone’s first priority and people drop out or say yes at the last second. There’s not much to promote, either, aside from live “get ready with me” content for a select demo of people. The novelty of seeing a celebrity on TV is gone in a social media age. I agree that there’s no as much excitement about promotion, but at least people are then aware.

3) Include a mix of modern, young talent and the legends. Invite Bernadette, Patti (I know she’s not loved by all), Bette, etc. to mix it up with the younger talent. Let them pass the baton, so it appeals to all ages. Just because someone doesn’t appear on the telecast doesn’t mean they weren’t asked! No doubt they tried for all the biggest names you can think of. I agree that some were probably asked, but as they’re getting older, we need to reach out as much as possible. The Tony’s are Broadway’s biggest, so I hope next year some will come out.

4) Get a host that people know. DeBose is known by Broadway people, and yes, she won an Oscar for it, but West Side Story was a box office failure, so the rest of the country doesn’t know her.This is the point we can all agree on.

5) Choose a date that’s NOT Father’s Day!I don’t know if this means a thing. If people are interested enough, they’ll watch. House of the Dragon is probably a bigger factor than Father’s Day. Yes, if you want to watch you will. You’ll DVR it or catch up on steaming later, but ratings are based on live numbers, so I do think it matters.

These won’t solve all problems, but I think they’d help."


"

I appreciate your thoughts too. Agree to disagree on some.


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