Broadway returned to broadcast — and streaming — on Sunday with the 75th annual Tony Awards. The show’s first-ever live coast-to-coast telecast drew 3.86 million viewers for its three-hour portion on CBS, according to special time-zone adjusted Live + Same Day Nielsen data.
Like last year’s special edition in September, the four-hour ceremony kicked off with an exclusive start on Paramount+, before CBS joined in. But unlike the Fall 2021 ceremony that was just two hours long on network TV, the 2022 Tonys saw its CBS broadcast restored to a full three hours. Paramount+ aired the first hour of the Tonys at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, followed by the remaining three hours airing on CBS starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Paramount+ continued to stream the CBS telecast and offer the Tonys on-demand afterward.
Hosted by “Hamilton” alum and newly minted Oscar winner Ariana DeBose, the 2022 Tonys marked Broadway’s big celebration of its first full season after the COVID lockdown.
Last September, the much-delayed 74th annual Tony Awards on CBS drew a 0.4 rating among adults in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and 2.77 million total, according to Nielsen’s time-zone adjusted Live + Same Day data. For that show, CBS also opted to split the full, four-hour event between the network and streamer Paramount+. An awards-heavy live presentation hosted by Audra McDonald occurred during the first two hours, followed by a live concert event for the second two hours hosted by “Hamilton” alum and “Central Park” star Leslie Odom Jr.
In 2019, the last time the Tonys were held in its usual end-of-Broadway-season June slot before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Great White Way, the James Corden-hosted CBS event managed a 0.8 rating and 5.5 million total viewers.
During last night’s show, “A Strange Loop” was named best musical, while “The Lehman Trilogy” captured the prize for best play. “Company” won best revival of a musical and “Take Me Out” nabbed the award for best revival of a play.
“Company,” which flipped the gender of the protagonist of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical to tell a more female-focused story, earned five prizes. Its victory was bittersweet, coming roughly seven months after its creator died at the age of 91.
“The Lehman Trilogy,” an epic drama charting the history of one of the financial institutions that helped spark the 2008 recession, also won five Tony Awards, including prizes for Sam Mendes’ direction and for Simon Russell Beale’s lead performance.