More than a year after they were postponed due to the pandemic, the 2020 Tony Awards will finally air on Sept. 26.
But, in a bit of a blow to the theater industry’s visibility, for the first time ever, the award show celebrating the best of Broadway will air mostly on the streaming platform Paramount+.
The usual naming of winners on the subscription service will then be followed by a bigger CBS special called “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!,” which will feature performances from the nominated musicals “Moulin Rouge!,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” and end with the big prizes of the evening: Best Musical, Best Play and Best Revival of a Play.
If you’re an actor, composer or a lighting designer, however, you’re kicked to the streaming curb.
It’s unclear if the Tonys’ permanent new home will be Paramount+, or if it’s a quick ploy to snag a few million new subscribers.
While other award shows such as the Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes have seen huge dips in viewership for years, the Tonys has held onto a pretty steady audience of six to seven million. Broadway fans tend to be devoted and put their money where their mouth is. What’s $7 to a person who routinely spends $300 on a ticket?
For instance, in the five weeks after the musical “Hamilton” dropped on Disney+, that service added three-million subscribers.
It’s been a long road for the Tonys. Seven months after the news of the postponement of the show honoring plays and musicals from the cut-short 2019-2020 season, the nominees were announced October 15, nearly an entire year before the event will take place.
Broadway, itself, will resume on September 2, when 2019’s Best Musical winner “Hadestown” reopens.
It’s not yet known if future Tony Awards shows will return to their previous home at Radio City Music Hall.