The Playgoer: TONY RATINGS

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005


The Nielsens are now in for the Tonys. And the bounce from Billy Crystal and Aretha Franklin et al's coattails? Zero. According to the Times:

...according to preliminary numbers, the celebrities did almost nothing to increase the flat overnight national ratings, showing only a slight increase of about 160,000 viewers. In years past, a number of factors have been blamed for the low ratings, including competition from the N.B.A. playoffs and new episodes of hot HBO shows like "The Sopranos" or "Six Feet Under." This year, however, the show had no such competition, but still drew only 6.6 million viewers, up 2 percent from last year's audience of about 6.5 million viewers.

Variety , of course, goes into more details about this "Kudocast". (Love that Variety lingo. But what does it mean???):

After getting a solid lead-in from "60 Minutes," the aud for the Tonys peaked in its first half-hour (roughly 7.2 million), then stayed above 6.1 million the rest of the night. This year's overall audience was only slightly higher than the 6.46 million that tuned in last year.

Show, hosted by Hugh Jackman, also averaged a meager 1.4 rating/4 share among adults 18-49, placing fourth or lower in its timeslot pending cable results. It pulled a 6 share among women 35-54 and performed best (a 13 share) among adults 55-plus.

Yup, 55-plus. That's our audience.

Still, is the lesson that Americans don't, and can't care about theatre? Or that it was an awful show! (If I didn't consider it my "job" lord knows I'd rather watch the Simpsons reruns that I ended up missing.) Again, my solution is: more elitism, not less. Cocktails, unscripted (uncensored?) repartee. So for the unitiated, at least it becomes a cool private club, not a Bob Hope special. If it has to be on cable so be it. Plenty of people have HBO--and maybe they'd be interested! Honestly, wouldn't the theatre be better off that way?

Any thoughts? Who has the best idea for revamping the Tonys? As the guy on Channell 11 used to say: What's your opinion? We'd like to know...

(Postscript 6/13: Turns out "kudocast" just means "
Variety term for an awards show". I looked it up, no kidding, in the Variety dictionary! The website features an online database of its own "Slanguage". Useful tool!)

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