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Tony Awards Broadcast Can Proceed After Striking Writers’ Union Agrees

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This year’s Tony Awards, which have been in jeopardy since Hollywood’s writers went on strike earlier this month, have since announced that the Writers’ Guild will not be picketing the show on Monday night. It was decided to be held as planned in a modified form.

The Writers Guild of America, which represents the writers, said in a statement late Monday: “We stand by our Broadway colleagues affected by the strike, just as they stand by us.” Stated.

The disruption could have hurt Broadway, which sees televised ceremonies as a key marketing opportunity, especially now that audiences have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Some of the nominated shows are operating at a loss, and are holding out in hopes that a Tony win or even air exposure could boost sales.

The union, which is scheduled to air on CBS on June 11, will be different from past ceremonies, the union said.

“Tony Award Productions (a joint venture between the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing) plans to modify this year’s show in response to specific requests from the WGA, so the WGA will not be picketing the show. told us,” the union said in a statement. “The responsibility for having to change the format of the 2023 Tony Awards rests directly on the shoulders of Paramount/CBS and their allies. ing”

The union did not provide details on what the differences would be, and Tony management was not immediately available for comment. But officials familiar with the plan have been asked to remain anonymous about the circumstances, which have not yet been made public, and although the revised broadcast will include major award presentations and live performances of songs from Broadway shows, the script will not be published. Some said they would not appear at all. Material for opening numbers or comedic patterns by screenwriters.

According to the person, the Tony Awards agreed not to use any part of the script written before the writers’ strike began.

It wasn’t immediately clear what role, if any, Ariana DeBose would play in the unscripted show. The Oscar-winning, Broadway-loving actress hosted the awards ceremony last year, and she agreed to do so again this year.

Shortly after the writers went on strike, it became clear that the work stoppage could affect the Tony Awards. That’s because awards ceremonies are held on television (CBS) and livestreamed (Paramount+), and usually feature screenplays written by screenwriters.

Broadway is a highly unionized industry, and unionized theater workers, such as actors and musicians, had no intention of attending an awards ceremony that another union was protesting. Tony Awards administrators are aware of these concerns and have asked the WGA for a waiver to allow writers to work on the show in light of the dire plight of the theater industry. The WGA denied the request on Friday and reiterated its denial on Monday night, saying the guild “does not intend to negotiate a provisional agreement or waiver of the Tony Awards.”

However, the Tony Awards administrators did not give up and asked the Guild if they would allow the show to continue without a writer as long as certain conditions were met, even if the writer’s permission to produce the program was not exempted. .

Prominent theater artists working on Broadway and affiliated with the Writers Guild have also spoken out on behalf of the Tonys, saying that the show’s cancellation would be devastating to the arts community and the many art workers employed there. claimed to inflict a devastating blow. Due to a combination of lobbying and new terms, the Guild apparently announced Monday night it would not be picketing broadcasts.

The striking writers argued that wages had stagnated and working conditions were deteriorating, despite the fact that television production had exploded over the past decade. Negotiations between major Hollywood studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and the WGA fell apart three weeks ago. About 11,500 writers went on strike from May 2nd.

Over the past two weeks, the writers have assembled picket lines outside the main studio in Los Angeles and the production soundstage in New York. But the writers have traveled further afield, with some picketing outside productions in more remote locations such as Maplewood, New Jersey, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

The threat of the demos forced Netflix to cancel a large in-person showcase for advertisers scheduled for Wednesday and instead shift to a virtual format. The company also canceled Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ appearance at the PEN America Literary Gala on Thursday.

CBS has been broadcasting Tony’s since the 1970s, making it one of the longest continuous relationships with a single station and award show. CBS has a deal to run the show until 2026. Due to Tony’s relatively low ratings, the show has long been a prestige show for the station rather than a big profit.

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