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Tony kudocast plays to small audience

6.6 mil watch three-hour telecast

The play is still not the thing for American TV audiences, as Sunday’s Tony Awards telecast improved only slightly upon the previous year’s record-low tune-in.

Preliminary Nielsens show an average of 6.6 million viewers watched Sunday’s three-hour telecast on CBS, placing it third among the major networks by this measure from 8 to 11.

After getting a solid lead-in from “60 Minutes,” the aud for the Tonys peaked in its first half-hour (roughly 7.2 million), then stayed above 6.1 million the rest of the night. This year’s overall audience was only slightly higher than the 6.46 million that tuned in last year.

Show, hosted by Hugh Jackman, also averaged a meager 1.4 rating/4 share among adults 18-49, placing fourth or lower in its timeslot pending cable results. It pulled a 6 share among women 35-54 and performed best (a 13 share) among adults 55-plus.

The Tonys ceremony isn’t alone among annual kudocasts to approach or set record-low ratings. Over the past year, the Primetime Emmys on ABC (13.79 million) and Daytime Emmys on CBS (7.62 million) delivered their smallest averages to date, and the Golden Globes dipped to its lowest audience (16.85 million) in its 10 years since switching to NBC.

Prelim results weren’t available for the handful of cable premieres on Sunday, including HBO’s “The Comeback” and USA’s return of “The 4400.” Nielsen will release national estimates for these shows today.

Among the limited number of firstrun shows on the broadcast nets Sunday, Fox did well at 9 with “Family Guy” (prelim 3.7/10 in adults 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), winning in all under-50 demos. Net then fell off at 9:30 with a firstrun “American Dad” (prelim 3.0/8, 6.1 million), but still led in adults 18-34 and teens.

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