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Tonys to air same time as last ‘Sopranos’

Awards show takes whack at mob finale

Tonys, meet Tony.

The live broadcast on CBS of the 2007 Tony Awards is up against an episode of “The Sopranos.” And not just any installment of “The Sopranos.” The last one. Ever.

Sure, ratings tell us that fewer people are watching HBO’s mob drama this year. But even viewers who drifted away from New Jersey’s first family can be expected to tune in for the farewell hit after eight years.

The Tonys were programmed opposite Tony in 2004 — when “The Sopranos” was the clear winner, pulling in 11 million viewers to the Mafia saga’s season five finale vs. the 6.46 million who watched the Tonys.

Last year, the Tonys, with viewership up 20% to 7.79 million, actually scored higher than this year’s season preem of “The Sopranos” (7.66 million viewers).

But the “Sopranos” tally doesn’t take into account multiple repeat broadcasts and on-demand viewings. And in a real-time contest between watching the Gotham-centric Tonys or the final arrivederci of national pop culture giant Tony, “The Sopranos” seems likely to dominate the water-cooler conversation come Monday morning.

To help bolster support for the theater Mafia, we suggest making the choice even harder. Get “The Sopranos” Tony, James Gandolfini, to host the legit Tonys this year. Maybe with TV wife (and Broadway vet) Edie Falco. Then we’ll see who gets whacked.

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