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.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.