Ratings: Tony Awards Flirt With Record Lows Opposite Big NBA Finals

Tony Ratings Near Record Low in
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Broadway may have had a record-setting year at the box office, but that didn’t translate to viewers for the Tony Awards on CBS, as Sunday’s telecast — opposite ABC’s dominant coverage of the NBA Finals — delivered one of the event’s smallest audiences ever.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the “69th Annual Tony Awards” averaged a 0.9 rating/3 share in adults 18-49 and 6.35 million viewers overall on CBS from 8 to 11. It was down 25% in the demo (from 1.2 rating) and 9% in total viewers (7.05 million) from last year. This is the lowest-ever demo rating for the kudocast (though it could round up to a 1.0 in the nationals, which would match the score for 2012), but it managed to avoid an outright record-low in total viewership, which remains the 6.01 million who watched in 2012; 2007 (6.22 million) and 2008 (6.27 million) were also lower than last night’s 6.4 million.

Last night’s telecast scored well in its backyard, with WCBS in New York attracting its highest Tony Award ratings in three years in both adults 25-54 (3.7 rating, up 23% from last year’s 3.0) and adults 18-49 (3.6 rating, up 44% vs. last year’s 2.5).

See More: ‘Fun Home,’ ‘Curious Incident,’ Helen Mirren Win Big at 2015 Tony Awards

According to CBS, online traffic to all CBS branded properties was up, with double-digit year-over-year increases in both unique users and unique visits. Traffic to Tony Awards content on cbs.com Web properties on the day of the event hit an all-time high, showing year-over-year double-digit increases for unique users and unique visits.

The best-rated Tonys of recent years came in 2009 (1.3 rating in 18-49 and 7.43 million viewers overall).

Game 2 of the NBA Finals on ABC averaged a 6.1 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 15.6 million viewers overall on ABC’s stations from 8 to 11 p.m., with these numbers subject to revision in the nationals since they don’t accurately reflect West Coast viewing. In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 97-95 victory over the Golden State Warriors to even the best-of-seven series at one game apiece averaged a 12.9 household rating — up 26% from last year.

The 12.9 matches the score for Thursday’s Game 1, and the two-game average of 12.9 is the best ever on ABC (which began coverage in 2003) and the best on any network since NBC’s coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers-Los Angeles Lakers series in 2001. Both local markets, the Bay Area (31.7) and Cleveland (42.1), were up from their already record-setting deliveries for Game 1. Game 3 is set for Tuesday night in Cleveland.

Game 1 ended up averaging a 6.9 rating in 18-49 and 17.7 million total viewers.

Elsewhere, NBC again fared better with newsmagazine “Dateline” from 7 to 9 p.m. (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) than original episodes of dramas “A.D. The Bible Continues” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) and “American Odyssey” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall). “Dateline” this week was broken down into two hours, with the 7 p.m. segment averaging a 0.7/3 in 18-49 and 4.6 million viewers overall), and the premiere of “Dateline: My Kid Would Never Do That” doing a 1.0/4 in 18-49 and 5.0 million viewers overall — matching the top demo score for a Sunday “Dateline” since April 26.

Fox aired repeats of “Bob’s Burgers” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall at 7, and 0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million at 7:30), “The Simpsons” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall), “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall). They were followed by an original episode of “Golan the Insatiable” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall), which was down 0.2 from last week’s premiere.

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  1. Jep says:

    This should NEVER be on network TV anyway. What a stupid move by CBS. No one wants to see this sissy show.

  2. The Tony Awards have been, for some time now, out of synch with the other major televised award shows. We all are familiar with “Award Season”. Award show watchers spend the dreary after-holiday winter months tuning in for the Golden Globes, the SAGs, and the Oscars. We also have the Grammy Awards, the MTV Awards and a few others. Now, 3-4 months later, here come the Tony Awards. People have left “Award Season mode” by now. Summer is here. The NBA & NHL Playoffs are underway. And, quite frankly, the average TV viewer doesn’t know a lot about current Broadway shows. The Tonys have 2 choices. Either help more people become familiar with their product AND join the Award Season lineup, or, expect their annual ceremony to be moved to Bravo.

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