Despite the Writers Guild strike, the show must go on—at least this year’s Tony Awards gala. In solidarity with Broadway unions, the striking writers have pledged not to picket or at next month’s Tony telecast.
While the union turned down a request by the Tony organizers to grant an interim waiver for the ceremony, the Guild noted that the Tony organizers “are altering this year’s show to conform with specific requests from the WGA, and therefore the WGA will not be picketing the show.” Though details of the changes are not known, it’s likely that a non-scripted telecast will happen on June 11.
A similar scenario occurred in 1988, when the Tony awards show was broadcast during a Writers Guild strike. On that occasion, hosted by Angela Lansbury, presenters spoke ad lib, without the benefit of scripts provided by writers.
In a statement released this week, the Writers Guild of America promised solidarity with various unions representing the Broadway community, including Actors’ Equity, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the American Federation of Musicians, “As they have stood by us, we stand with our fellow workers on Broadway who are impacted by our strike,” the WGA continued.
Since May 2, about 11,500 writers have been on strike, causing late-night TV shows to go dark temporarily. The union struck over the issue of royalties from streaming media, arguing that its members were being shortchanged in the new media environment.
Already this year, the strike has disrupted the MTV Movie & TV Awards ceremony, which proceeded with prerecorded speeches without benefit of a host. The Peabody Awards canceled its awards show, which had also been scheduled for June 11.
This year’s Tony ceremony—the 76th annual show—is scheduled to be broadcast on CBS and Paramount, with a pre-show on Pluto TV, which is also owned by Paramount.
The 76th annual Tony Awards ceremony is set to be broadcast on CBS and Paramount+ with a pre-show on Pluto TV (another Paramount company). It is not yet clear whether Ariana DeBose will still host the show, as had been planned.
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