The 1998 Tony Awards broadcast slipped slightly in the ratings from its phenomenal rebound in 1997, posting a 10.3 rating and a 16 share in the overnight numbers. In 1997, the show touted an 11.2 rating and a 17 share, its best showing in 10 years. Still, the numbers were considerably over the 1996 showing of 8.3 and a 13 share.
In a replay of last June, the Tonys main competition was an NBA playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz, which won the night with a 16.8 rating and a 28 share. Particularly throwing off the Tonys showing were the numbers from Chicago, where hometown fan pushed the Bulls to an incredible 51 rating and 71 share, sending the Tony to less than a 6 rating and an 8 share. Still, the combination of hostess Rosie O'Donnell and venue Radio City Music Hall seemed to again do the trick for the once-beleaguered awards ceremony. CBS was pleased with the ratings. "It's a good number," said David Childs of the network's communications department. "Especially when you consider it was against the basketball playoffs."
A single rating point represents 980,000 households, which translates into some 10 million homes taking in the Tonys. A share shows the percentage of televisions being used at the time. The overnight ratings cull figures from the nation's 40 largest markets (three more cities than last year). The national ratings, which collect numbers from many more markets, will be available tomorrow.
There was no explanation of a technical glitch early on in the CBS broadcast which left the network resorting to a station identification image.
As of noon on June 8, the ratings information, on the first hour of the Tony Awards, which aired on PBS 8-9 PM EST, was not available.