That showing was up slightly from 2002's 5.9 rating and 9 share, said Sherman.
A single rating point represents roughly one million households; a share shows the percentage of televisions being used at the time.
According to the zap2it.com website—which lists preliminary Nielsen ratings for the three major networks and Fox—ABC and the Nets-Spurs basketball game won the evening with an average 7.1 rating and 12 share. FOX came in last with 4.1/7.
CBS actually began the night in the lead, reported zap2it.com, with the first hour of the Tonys—which opened with Billy Joel playing "New York State of Mind" in Times Square— winning a 6.2 rating and an 11 share, with NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" just behind with 6.1/11 and ABC third with the star of the Nets-Spurs basketball game. But in the 9-10 PM slot, a second episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" led the way, while the basketball game took second and the Tonys fell to third. The awards ceremony remained in third place from 10 PM to 11 PM.
Overnight ratings are volatile and the final numbers may vary slightly. Nonetheless, the Tonys broadcast, which has routinely suffered from poor ratings, looks to have registered another lackluster showing in viewership. The overall ratings for 2002 were 5.69/9, down significantly from 2001's 7.3/11. The program's best showing in recent years was in 1997, when Rosie O'Donnell hosted and the show won a 11.2 rating and a 17 share.