Hamilton-Buoyed Tony Awards Deliver Largest Audience in 15 Years

Undoubtedly boosted by the prospect of “Free Hamilton performances!” but also offering a tonic at the close of an emotionally brutal day, CBS’ broadcast of the 70th annual Tony Awards on Sunday notched the ceremony’s best numbers in more than a decade.

Sunday’s telecast delivered 8.7 million total viewers and a 1.6 demo rating, up 35 and 60 percent from last year to mark 15- and 13-year highs. TVLine readers gave the gala an average grade of “A”, with host James Corden’s opening number earning no less than an “A+.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, NBC’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals Game 6 (4.8 mil/1.6) was up two tenths from the fast nationals for Game 5, while Fox’s Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life returned to 850,000 viewers and a 0.3 rating, down from its eternity-ago previous outing.

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29 Comments
  1. Jennifer says:

    Best Tony Awards in as long as I can remember. Can James Corden host every year? He was fabulous.

    And can someone please explain the appeal of Hamilton? I just don’t get it. I know I’m in the minority, but I just don’t get the hype.

    • BillyBobJohnson says:

      It’s a 2-hour history lesson about one of the key figures in the founding of our country told in hip-hop/rap/rhyme to get the youth excited about it. That adults like it is simply gravy.

      • KLS says:

        Expensive gravy too! Tickets are sky high even without the Tony-bump and with Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator/lead) leaving this Summer, it’s a mortgage payment!

      • Jennifer says:

        BillyBob – I have an open mind. And I know history. Very simply – Can’t stand rap / hip-hop. And yes, I’ve listened to the soundtrack. Just doesn’t appeal to me.

        • BillyBobJohnson says:

          I wasn’t trying to imply anything. I’m not a rap/hip-hop fan either. Just explaining the appeal.

    • jdbohatch says:

      I bought the download if the musical. It’s amazing and I’m not a fan of rap usually. The writing is so smart, it’s a history lesson, and I’m usually crying by the end of it. I encourage you to to check it out. It really grabs you because it is so well written and performed. There’s a reason LMM received a Pulitzer!
      (I live too far to attend a show in person ☹️)

    • Anne Normandin says:

      Just to let you know Jennifer, I’m in the same minority. I took all my history lessons years ago. Wasn’t my favorite subject. Have a good one.

  2. lariet50 says:

    I have a feeling the tribute to the Orlando shooting victims had more to do with the ratings boost, but that’s just me. And Jennifer, I don’t get the appeal, either.

  3. opus says:

    Terrific show. To those who say they don’t understand Hamilton’s appeal, I’m surprised. I am not a rap/hip-hop fan in any way (the rap beat gives me headaches), but the bits we saw of Hamilton last night made me want to see more!

  4. liame says:

    Love Hamilton and the cast. This award ceremony was by far the best I’ve seen in a long time. In order to appreciate Hamilton you have to know your History. Some people can’t relate to modern adaptation of theater performances because in their minds that’s not the way it’s suppose to be. Hamilton is a rare intelligent treat for those with an open mind.

  5. The Beach says:

    I don’t know the actress who sang the beautiful song from “Waitress” but she was phenomenal.

  6. Bella says:

    I watched for the first time this year, because James Corden was the host. It was miles better than any other awards show. Really terrific.

  7. c-mo says:

    Hamilton had absolutely nothing to do with me watching the show, I planned to watch it only because of James Corden. I loved it because of the sincerity of the winners, the creativeness of the performances and the lack of politicalization of the horrific events of the day in the acceptance speeches. There are many other things I loved about the evening but I’ll leave it with the three mentioned. I nominate JC to host every awards show form now on!

  8. magsmcdee says:

    I tuned in solely b/c James Corden was hosting. I LOVE him and he did not disappoint. The excellent performances were an added bonus. Frank Langella’s speech, the best of the night!

  9. Scarlett says:

    Dear viewers who tuned in mainly because of Hamilton and/or James Corden: Now you see what a magical place Broadway is. Please come back and watch in years without cultural phenoms- I promise the talent and joy is just as top-notch :)

    • Jennifer says:

      ^^^ THIS!!! Doubled. There’s something for everyone … Monty Python fans … Mel Brooks … even those that like SouthPark (Book of Mormon is one of the funniest (irreverent) shows you will ever see)

    • Elizabeth Vidal says:

      *slow clap* Tony’s always manage to put me in a great mood. I just think that some years the shows playing aren’t all that great. But this year the shows are amazing now I can’t wait to see Waitress as well. I do wish Hamilton would do a Fathom event before LMM & Phillipa Soo left.

  10. KayCeeCee says:

    I watch and enjoy the Tonys every year. This year was great! (just like every other year.)

  11. Ron says:

    I think the combination of Hamilton, James Corden, and the dedication to the Orlando victims kinda all just came together to create the ratings success. I make sure to never miss the Tony’s. I love broadway but rarely have the money to see everything I want, so the Tony’s are perfect for getting great snippets of shows for free. A lot of people hate watching awards shows, but I always advocate for the Tony’s because they’re legitimately entertaining. It feels less like a kudos-fest to me and more like broadway stars coming together for a three-hour musical for the sake of loving what they do and wanting to perform for people. And, unlike the Grammys, the Tonys are the right kind of flashy.

  12. pdamico says:

    “It’s not a “history lesson”, is a musical. Geez.”

    Actually, it’s much more than that.

    Ron Chernow’s extraordinary Hamilton bio (which Manuel Miranda based the play upon), was a distinctly successful effort to correct revisionist history. During his impeccable research for the book, Chernow was appalled by the posthumous mudslinging some of the other Founding Fathers heaped upon Hamilton. It was an organized and sophisticated effort to destroy Hamilton’s legacy. Much of what we’re taught in American History textbooks about Hamilton is merely a perpetuation of that early, political smear campaign. Manuel Miranda has been very forthcoming in interviews about how enlightened and inspired he was by Chernow’s book. While the play is not a note-by-note adaptation, it’s clearly more factual than anything taught in most schools. However, its thematic approach is a mirror reflection of the bio. “Hamilton” isn’t so much about our first Treasury Sec’y, as it is about the machinations and manipulations of historical fact, as framed by a very moving love story (Hamilton’s wife bravely fought to clear his name until the day she died).

    I believe it’s more for those reasons that the play has resonated so strongly among so many. Structuring it as a rap/hip-hop musical was a stroke of artistic brilliance. The subject matter lends itself perfectly to really smart, Def Poetry.

  13. Anne Normandin says:

    It was up because of James Corden. First time I watched him on his late night show I became a fan for life. He’s so talented and so down to earth, he’s a refreshing change. I also so get the appeal of Hamilton.

  14. Rachel says:

    Well I watched the Stanley Cup. Yay Pens!!!!!

  15. Vaughn M says:

    I watched for all those reason but the main reason was I needed to witness Cynthia Erivo and that fabulous cast of TCP. I’m so happy she won!!!