The US TV audience for the Tony Awards hit a new low despite a star-studded cast promoting Broadway’s return.
CBS said 2.6 million people tuned in for Sunday’s two-hour special, titled Broadway’s Back.
In 2019, the last time the Tony Awards were held, some 5.4 million people watched the ceremony on television.
But the show usually airs in June with less competition. This time it was up against Saturday Night Football on NBC and season premieres on ABC and Fox.
For the first time, the show was split into two, with the bulk of the Tonys streamed on Paramount+, with only the awards for best play, best revival of a play and best musical presented during the CBS special.
As with most streaming services, the Paramount+ viewing figures are kept under wraps.
Sunday’s ceremony was held almost a year late due to the pandemic. It also took place almost two years after most of the nominated plays and musicals first played in New York.
Best play winner The Inheritance, a modern-day Aids drama, and The Soldier’s Play, about the murder of a black officer on a US military base in 1944, both closed in 2020 and have no plans to return.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical, was the big winner on the night, named best musical and winning nine other Tonys. The show reopened last week, alongside dozens of other shows that have returned after Covid.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth made appearances at the Tonys and urged viewers to buy tickets to help bolster live theatre’s recovery from the losses incurred during the pandemic-enforced lockdown.