The Unscripted Tonys Were a Win for CBS and Broadway | Analysis

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The Great White Way’s biggest commercial brought the theater industry much-needed revenue after clinching a deal with the striking Writers Guild of America

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 11: Victoria Clark accepts the award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for “Kimberly Akimbo” onstage during The 76th Annual Tony Awards at United Palace Theater on June 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The 76th Annual Tony Awards — which was nearly canceled outright because of the writers’ strike — went ahead on June 11. All the work to come to agreement with the WGA on the unscripted ceremony was worth it. It was a ratings bonanza for CBS and a notable lift to ticket sales for the winners, newly reported numbers show.

For many shows, the publicity from Broadway’s biggest night can mean the difference between keeping the curtain up and posting a closing notice. A Tony nomination typically only has a nominal impact on sales, whereas, depending on the show’s category, a win can be a game changer, said Hunter Arnold, a co-producer on multiple productions this season including “Some Like It Hot,” “Leopoldstadt,” “Life of Pi,” and “A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical.