Years ago, then CEO of CBS Les Moonves told NY Post’s Michael Riedel that as long as he’s at CBS, so will the Tony Awards. This quote came at a time when the ratings were in the basement compared to other award shows. However, a statement like that from the guy who ran the network was indeed a sigh of relief.
But now Moonves is gone due to the many accusations of sexual misconduct. Which means that the Tony Awards’ biggest network champion is gone. And the ratings are still in the proverbial toilet.
So what does this mean for the future of the Tonys on CBS?
Well don’t worry yet, contracts are in place to keep the Tonys on CBS for the better part of the next decade. But it’s no secret that Broadway’s biggest night is still a money loser for the network. One source told me, “It’s not a massive loss, we know what to expect. But it’s a loss nonetheless.” And if ratings keep slipping and the financial toll keeps growing, then CBS could end the deal early, and the Tonys could be looking for a new home.
Which may or may not be a good thing in the long run. Perhaps a move to another network might restore the awards show and rid it from some of the moments inserted to bring in viewers like the performance from the non-nominated “Summer The Musical” at this past year’s ceremony. It also might allow Tony producers to air the technical awards rather than relegating them to commercial breaks.
Also, the CBS broadcast of the Tonys seems to be identical every single year. Maybe another network can bring some fresh flair to the proceedings. My top choice would be NBC. Just like the Tonys, they are synonymous with New York City. Also, the only other awards show they annually Broadcast is the Golden Globes. They may want to add to their awards show portfolio with a Tonys addition.
Either way, I don’t see a possible departure from CBS as being catastrophic for the Tonys. Moonves certainly needed to go, and if his departure kick starts the process of the Tonys finding another home, that may be what the Tonys needs.