The company of “Kimberly Akimbo,” one of the most-nominated shows of the season; Photo by Joan Marcus
The ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike last week threatened to cancel the airing of the 76th Annual Tony Awards, which would have a major impact on the commercial viability of nominated shows as the telecast acts as a pivotal marketing campaign. On Friday, the union rejected a waiver submitted by the ceremony’s organizers that requested the broadcast go on as planned on June 11.
However, the Tony Awards Management Committee did appeal to the Writers Guild of America and ask the guild not to picket the televised awards ceremony, to potentially move forward with the broadcast. Since, WGA has announced that it will not picket the 2023 Tony Awards, which means the ceremony will go on and be telecast on June 11. What form the ceremony will take, and how writers will be affected, is still to be seen; Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose is slated to host.
The last WGA strike lasted for three months in 2007–08. The 2023 strike officially began on May 2, 2023; tenants of this strike involve writers’ payment and higher residuals from streaming media. The writers are also seeking firmer AI regulations and staffing minimum requirements.
“As they have stood by us, we stand with our fellow workers on Broadway who are impacted by our strike,” the WGA statement reads, speaking to the solidarity amongst theatermakers and those writing in Hollywood.
“Responsibility for having to make changes to the format of the 2023 Tony Awards rests squarely on the shoulders of Paramount/CBS and their allies,” the WGA statement reads. “They continue to refuse to negotiate a fair contract for the writers represented by the WGA.”
The 76th annual Tony Awards ceremony is set to be broadcast on CBS and Paramount+ with a pre-show on Pluto TV (another Paramount company). The annual event will be held at the United Palace in New York City’s Washington Heights on Sunday, June 11. See the full list of nominees here.
At this time, all other awards ceremonies of the 2022/23 theatre season, including the Drama League Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Outer Critics Circle Awards remain unaffected by the strike.