Final Ratings for Tonys Down from 2002

By Robert Simonson
10 Jun 2003

An extra hour of prime time network programming and the presence of a star host in Hugh Jackman appeared not to help the 2003 Tony Awards broadcast. According to CBS—which broadcast the Tonys from 8-11 PM (ET)—the show had a 5.4 rating with a 9 share, and drew in 7.9 million viewers.



That showing was down from 2002's 5.9 rating and 9 share. However, in a bit of good news, the program posted an increase of 30 percent in viewership from adults aged 25-54 and 25 percent upswing in adults ages 18-49.

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, with the first hour of the Tonys—which opened with Billy Joel playing "New York State of Mind" in Times Square— winning a 6.1 rating and an 11 share, with NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" just behind 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 with 5.3/9. The awards ceremony remained in third place from 10-11 PM with 4.8/8.

The Tonys broadcast has routinely suffered from poor ratings. Just as 2003's showing is down from last year, the ratings for 2002 were 5.69/9, down significantly from 2001's 7.3/11. The program's best performance in recent years was in 1997, when Rosie O'Donnell hosted and the show won a 11.2 rating and a 17 share.