Tony Awards Will Move Forward With Unscripted Telecast, WGA Won’t Picket

A general view of the 2008 Tony Awards stage
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

UPDATE (05/16/2023): The 2023 Tony Awards will continue on June 11 as an unscripted telecast after appealing to the Writers Guild of America on Monday, May 15. Now that the Tony Awards Management Committee has presented an agreeable alternative plan, the WGA has agreed not to picket the live event in New York City, per The Hollywood Reporter.

“Tony Awards Productions (a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing) has communicated with us that they are altering this year’s show to conform with specific requests from the WGA, and therefore the WGA will not be picketing the show,” the guild said in a statement on Monday evening. “As they have stood by us, we stand with our fellow workers on Broadway who are impacted by our strike.”

The WGA had previously rejected the Tony Awards’ strike waiver request. The WGA statement noted that the rejection was due to CBS and Paramount, not the awards ceremony itself.

“Responsibility for having to make changes to the format of the 2023 Tony Awards rests squarely on the shoulders of Paramount/CBS and their allies,” the statement added. “They continue to refuse to negotiate a fair contract for the writers represented by the WGA.”

The award show will air on June 11 on CBS and Paramount+, but it’s not yet known if host Ariana DeBose will be part of the unscripted production.

ORIGINAL STORY (05/13/2023): The ongoing Writers Guild of America strike has impacted another awards show. As a result of the labor dispute, the 76th Tony Awards will not be televised on CBS on June 11 as planned. The news comes just days after MTV aired a host-less, pre-taped MTV Movie & TV Awards.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the decision to cancel June 11’s Tonys telecast came after the WGA denied a strike waiver requested by the Tony Awards Management Committee earlier this week. The committee, which includes representatives from the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing, submitted the waiver with the argument that Broadway shows depend on the Tonys telecast for box-office revenue.

Now the committee will convene for an emergency meeting on Monday to figure out next steps for the ceremony, which honors achievements from Broadway’s 2022–2023 season. Those next steps, THRadds, could include a non-televised ceremony or a postponement of the awards show.

Ariana DeBose was set to host the 76th Tony Awards, which were scheduled to air live on CBS from New York City’s United Palace on at 8/7c on June 11 and stream simultaneously on Paramount+. Variety speculates DeBose will pull out of hosting duties if the Tonys are held during the strike, as Drew Barrymore did with the MTV Movie & TV Awards earlier this month.

This year’s Tony Award nominations were announced on May 2, with the musical Some Like It Hotleading the field with 13 nominations, followed by & Juliet, New York, New York, and Shucked with nine apiece. Some Like It Hot’s J. Harrison Ghee and Shucked’s Alex Newell also made history as the Tonys’ first nonbinary acting nominees, while Audra McDonald tied Chita Rivera and the late Julie Harris as the Tonys’ most-nominated performers, picking up a 10th nomination for her role in the play Ohio State Murders.