As a result of an ongoing strike by the Writers Guild of America, the 2023 Tony Awards won’t be broadcast on CBS and stream on Paramount+ on June 11 as planned.
The Tony Awards Management Committee — which is comprised of eight representatives of the Broadway League, including president Charlotte St. Martin, and eight representatives of the American Theater Wing, including president Heather Hitchens — has set an emergency meeting for Monday morning to determine the best path forward. The options include sticking with the June 11 date and pivot to a non-televised presentation of the awards or postpone the ceremony until the strike comes to an end and the show can be televised.
The 76th Annual Tony Awards were set to be held for the first time at the United Palace in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. This would have been only the sixth time since 1997 that the show has not been held at its usual home, Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan. Oscar winner Ariana DeBose was set to host the ceremony for a second year in a row.
This is the second time in the past three years that external events have thrown the Tony Awards timetable into chaos. The show that was originally scheduled to air in June 2020 didn’t finally air or stream until September 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And then, CBS opted to air a celebration of Broadway titled Broadway’s Back. The regular, annual Tony show was relegated to pre-show status and streamed on Paramount+.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a script for the Tony Awards was completed before May 2, when the WGA declared a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, of which CBS and Paramount+ are member companies. But without a waiver from the WGA granting special dispensation for the show, guild members would almost certainly show up to picket outside the Tonys’ new venue. And prominent members of the Broadway community — including Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda — have said they will not cross a picket line in order to attend.
The Tonys are a vital promotional tool for the Broadway industry — more than the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys are in their industries. Many in the comparatively small but fiercely loyal theatre-going audience decide what shows to see by watching the Tonys.
In addition, the Tony Awards has been regarded as one of the classiest and most entertaining awards shows since its first nationwide TV broadcast on ABC in 1967. (CBS has aired the show since 1978.) If the show doesn’t air this year, it would be a loss both for the Broadway community and for Broadway fans.
This story originally appeared on Billboard