Neil Patrick Harris returns to Tonys

Actor to host Broadway awards for third time

Neil Patrick Harris will host the 2012 Tony Awards in June.

It’ll be the thesp’s third time emceeing the legit world’s highest-profile kudos, following hosting gigs in 2009 and 2011. He’ll also serve as a producer of the award show, as he did last year. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment, longtime vets of the kudocast, return as exec producers.

Harris is a fave in the Broadway community following stints in Rialto shows including “Assassins” and “Cabaret.” More recently he played the lead role in the New York Philharmonic’s 2011 staging of “Company” (the filmed recording of which has played cinemas in special screenings), and he also directed the Hollywood Bowl’s 2010 production of “Rent.”

Kirshner and Weiss have won five Emmys for their prior collaborations on the Tony kudocast, including the 2009 outing led by Harris.

Last year with Harris at the podium, the Tonycast — competing for attention with the NBA Finals — saw viewership slip slightly to around 6.9 million, although the show logged year-to-year gains in adults 18-49.

This year’s Tonys, the 66th edition of the kudofest, will be held at Gotham’s Beacon Theater, the Upper West Side venue that hosted the awards last year. CBS airs the ceremony live June 10.

The current Broadway season wraps up April 26 prior to the nominations announcement May 1.

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