Can Whoopi save the Tony Awards?
While this is Whoopi's first turn as Tony host, she is well regarded for her four stints as Oscar hostess. At the most recent Oscars, when Whoopi was left out of the host-highlight clip package of years gone by, she was ticked off and talked about it the morning after on The View. Perhaps doing the Tonys will be her way of sticking to the Oscars?
Gallery: Whoopi Goldberg
"I'm very excited to be hosting the Tony Awards. I love Broadway and I'm thrilled to be doing anything for the first time. I'm gonna have a blast," she said in a release. Whoopi really does love Broadway. She got her start when her one-woman show was staged on Broadway by Mike Nichols. After that, she became an overnight success. She won a Tony for that, and another recently as producer of Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002.
The Tonys are presented by the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theatres and Producers, the Tonys have been televised on CBS since 1978. The show has never done well in the Nielsens, even after they cut it back from three hours to two (putting the first hour on PBS). Last year's ceremony fell to its lowest ratings in at least 14 years, averaging just 6.2 million viewers. Of course, the competition that Sunday night was The Sopranos, but still...
Goldberg's humor and high-profile could be a draw for the Tonys, but one of the key problems with the show is simply the lack of familiarity viewers have with the current shows on Broadway. Star-power can only do so much to get people to tune in, as past broadcasts have shown. Whoopi is a star, so that's a help, and her regular promotion of the Tony broadcast on The View should also help. Will last year's 6.2 million double? Doubtful. Maybe 10 million.