A series of front-page controversies and the promise of a 50th anniversary retrospective were not enough to boost ratings for the annual Antoinette Perry Awards broacast on CBS. Daily Variety reported that A.C. Nielsen Co. overnight ratings for 32 markets gave the show an average rating of 8.3 with 13 percent of the audience, putting the show third behind a TV movie on ABC and a baskeball game and some sitcoms on NBC.
Those figures represent a decline of more than 10 percent each from last year's Tony Awards broadcast, Variety estimated.
Though producer Gary Smith says CBS will host the Tony broadcast in 1997, there has been concern that the network would not renew the Tony contract and that the Tonys would seek an outlet on cable TV or one of the smaller networks.
-- By Robert Viagas