Tony Awards broadcast up in the air amid writers strike, organizers ask for waiver but consider other plans
As the Writers Guild of America nears the end of its second week of striking, the 76th Annual Tony Awards are hanging in the balance.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the management committee of the annual Broadway fête petitioned the Writers Guild of America (WGA) for a special waiver to go on as planned with their live June 11 telecast. The group asked for the exemption to help financially struggling shows that benefit from the heightened exposure of the awards ceremony, which is scheduled to air on CBS and stream on Paramount+.
Both CBS and Paramount are member companies of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the Hollywood studios that couldn’t reach an agreement with the WGA over ongoing disputes regarding fairer deals and better wages.
While many film and television productions can maneuver shooting schedules due to the timing of the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike — which kicked off May 2 — live telecasts aren’t afforded the same type of considerations.
Late night talks shows hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers have halted production, while “Saturday Night Live” canceled its remaining three shows to end the season early. Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” also went dark following the strike announcement.
Meanwhile, syndicated daytime talk shows such as “Sherri,” “Tamron Hall,” “Live! with Kelly and Mark” and “The View” have continued live productions in New York City without WGA members on staff.
Last weekend’s live broadcast of the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards were upended when host Drew Barrymore and other Hollywood heavyweights dropped out in solidarity with the striking writers. A pre-taped special aired instead.
The Tony Awards have yet to receive a response from the Writers Guild, but the management committee has reportedly scheduled a Monday morning emergency meeting to mull over alternate plans for June 11.
Although this year’s Tony nominations were announced hours after the strike had begun, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the script for the ceremony was already completed.
The outlet reported that contingency plans may include the 2023 Tony Awards going on as planned but as a non-televised presentation in the form of an intimate dinner or press conference with nominees and media in attendance. Another alternative could be to postpone the ceremony until the strike comes to an end and the show can be aired.
The last time the WGA voted to strike was in 2007. According to CNN, the work stoppage lasted a little over three months and caused an estimated $2 billion in economic damage, mostly in Southern California where the majority of productions are based.
The Daily News reached out to reps for The Tony Awards but have not received comment.