2023 Tony Awards broadcast on CBS and Paramount+ will proceed
Amid the Writers Guild of America's ongoing strike, the broadcast will air in a modified format without scripted content, with further details to be confirmed.
This article was last updated with the latest information on May 15, 2023.
The 2023 Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS and Paramount+ as planned. This updated decision follows reports from May 12 that the awards might not be broadcast amid an ongoing strike by the Writer's Guild of America.
The WGA strike began on May 2. The union represents film and TV writers, not Broadway playwrights, but those TV writers include the people who write material for hosts and presenters to read on televised broadcasts like the Tonys. Members of other entertainment unions have also joined the WGA's picket line in solidarity, as many playwrights also write for film and TV.
As such, the 2023 Tonys broadcast will proceed in a modified format, consisting only of pre-written and unscripted material. The exact details of the new format have yet to be determined, but a New York Times report states that the show will include the presentation of awards and performances from nominated shows. Original performance numbers, comedic banter among the hosts and presenters, and other scripted segments will not be included.
On May 12, The Hollywood Reporter first reported that the Tony Awards Management Committee, which organizes the annual Broadway awards, requested a waiver from the WGA to let the broadcast go on as scheduled. However, the waiver was denied, so the committee reappealed on May 15.
At that point, the WGA agreed not to picket a televised Tony Awards ceremony, but that it would not grant exceptions to its members to write scripted content for it.
“As they have stood by us, we stand with our fellow workers on Broadway who are impacted by our strike,” the WGA said in a statement to the New York Times.
The broadcast was initially supposed to air live from the United Palace on June 11 and be a two-part event. An hour of pre-show content was set to stream on Pluto TV at 7 p.m., and the official awards broadcast would begin at 8 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+. Oscar winner Ariana DeBose was set to host; other presenters had not been announced yet. It is unknown whether she is still attached to the modified ceremony.
Initially, there were two likely alternatives to a broadcast. One was to postpone the televised broadcast until the strike ends; the other was to announce the winners on June 11 as planned in a non-televised ceremony. The televised ceremony, however, is often key to give shows, particularly the ones that win, a marketing and sales boost as the summer begins.
The WGA strike marks the second disruption to the Tony Awards in recent years, following the year-plus postponement of the entire 2020 ceremony amid the pandemic.
New York Theatre Guide will continue to update its guide to the 2023 Tony Awards and provide updated reporting as new information becomes available.
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