Les Moonves, the embattled head of CBS, as soon as instructed me: “The Tony Awards are a part of this community’s heritage. The telecast is a money-loser for CBS, however there are particular issues which can be extra essential than getting cash. So long as I’m right here, the Tonys will be right here, too.”
However how for much longer will he be there?
A blistering article by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker added Moonves to the rising listing of these tarnished by #MeToo allegations of sexual misconduct. CBS has employed legal professionals to examine, and Moonves stays in place pending the consequence.
However if Moonves falls, what will happen to the Tonys, all the time the lowest-rated of awards exhibits?
Don’t panic, theater lovers.
Tony officers lately signed a cope with CBS to preserve the telecast at the community for not less than one other 10 years, sources say.
Granted, if rankings fall by means of the root cellar, CBS may purchase out the contract and unload the award present, however theater individuals aren’t shedding sleep over that state of affairs.
The deal was accomplished earlier than the allegations towards Moonves surfaced.
CBS has its personal causes for hanging on to the Tonys.
“The rankings are s—ty,” a theater supply says. “However the individuals who watch have cash. CBS can promote advertisements round the telecast. And it’s in June. What else are they going to placed on?”
One other individual aware of the deal says: “Les was — is, I ought to say — actually our champion, however we’ll survive even if he doesn’t.”
Moonves helps the Tonys as a result of he started his profession as an actor, learning at the Neighborhood Playhouse College of the Theatre.
“Though I made my bones in tv, the Tonys preserve me hooked up to one thing I really like — the theater,” he instructed me in 2016.
The low rankings by no means rattled him. And so they’ve been fairly low. The telecast drew simply 6 million viewers in 2017 when it was hosted by a pre-#MeToo Kevin Spacey.
The charming duo of Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban kicked the variety of viewers up to 6.32 million this 12 months, however that’s tiddlywinks in contrast to the Oscars (26.5 million), the Grammys (19.Eight million) and the Emmys (11.four million).
The hype surrounding “Hamilton” in 2016 attracted 8.7 million Tony viewers, however a cultural sensation like that solely hits Broadway each decade or so.
Regardless of the deal, there may nonetheless be complications for the Tonys ought to Moonves not head CBS.
‘Les was a fantastic buffer between us and the special-programming brass.’
Community executives accountable for particular programming are more and more asserting extra artistic management over the telecast, a lot to the chagrin of Broadway producers, who’re proprietorial when it comes to their huge evening.
“Les was a fantastic buffer between us and the special-programming brass,” says a veteran producer. “If we had an actual downside, we may go to him and he may clean issues over, usually in our favor.”
CBS all the time pushes for extra musical numbers on the telecast, even from second-rate exhibits that don’t nab main Tony nominations.
A flurry of musical numbers dilutes the energy of the 4 exhibits nominated for Finest Musical, producers grumble.
They had been apoplectic in 2014 when Harvey Weinstein — the poster boy for #MeToo — muscled his approach onto the telecast with a quantity from “Discovering Neverland” a 12 months earlier than the present opened (and flopped) on Broadway. However Harvey delivered Jennifer Hudson, who sang the title tune, and CBS likes huge names on the telecast.
The Oscars sparked controversy this week by saying a brand new class: Excellent Achievement in Standard Movie.
It’s a bald transfer to increase rankings by showcasing box-office winners no matter creative advantage.
Think about “Quick & Livid: The Musical” coming to Broadway in the future — which isn’t as far-fetched as it’s possible you’ll assume. It in all probability received’t sweep the Tonys, however if it grosses $2 million every week, it might be nominated for the class of, say, Finest Musical Primarily based on a Franchise.
Will Moonves be there to hear theater producers scream?
You possibly can hear Michael Riedel weekdays on “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” on WOR radio 710.