Broadway producer David Merrick has announced that he is starting his own theatre awards "to celebrate excellence in the theatre" and to compete with the Tony Awards, which he sued earlier this year.
In faxed statement, Merrick said, "The Tony's have had their day. Now it is time for the MERRICK'S."
Merrick spokesman Michael Alpert said Merrick "is actively seeking a network television deal to present what he envisions as the most spectacular awards program."
No network was mentioned in the statement.
Merrick, 84, made headlines in May by suing the Antoinette Perry (Tony) Awards for $2 million over the fact that only four Rodgers and Hammerstein songs from his production of State Fair were nominated for the Best Score Tony. Merrick also sought to bar the Tonys from giving an award in that category this year. The suit was dismissed. Merrick, a legendary Broadway producer since the 1950s (he produced the original Hello, Dolly! among 88 other shows), has said he will produce a drama about the romance between Alfred Steiglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe on Broadway this season as well. His State Fair continues at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway.