June 12, 2017 / 5:06 PM / 2 years ago

Tony Awards TV audience slumps without 'Hamilton'

71st Tony Awards – Show – New York City, U.S., 11/06/2017 - Musical Falsettos performance. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Some six million Americans watched the Tony Awards on television on Sunday, down sharply from last year’s televised ceremony when pop culture juggernaut “Hamilton” dominated the show.

CBS said on Monday that 6.1 million people watched Sunday’s three-hour awards show, broadcast from New York’s Radio City Music Hall, where a revival of musical “Hello Dolly!” and new teenage angst musical “Dear Evan Hansen” were the big winners.

This year’s TV audience marked a more than 30 percent drop from 2016’s television audience of 8.7 million viewers - a 15-year high for the annual awards show celebrating the best of American theater.

The audience in advertisers’ coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic tumbled even more steeply, by about 44 percent, the data showed.

“Hamilton,” a musical that tells the history of America’s founding fathers through hip-hop lyrics and casts African-American and Latino actors in the roles of figures like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, won 11 Tony Awards in 2016.

Already the hottest ticket on Broadway, productions of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical have now opened or are about to open in Chicago, Los Angeles and London.

On Sunday, “Dear Evan Hansen” won six Tonys, and “Hello Dolly!” starring Bette Midler, took home four awards in a ceremony hosted by Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey.

Spacey, who spent much of the show joking about not being the first choice for the job, got mixed reviews.

The New York Times deemed it an “uneven night,” and Variety said Spacey “fell flat,” while the Los Angeles Times said Spacey was “sweet, corny and touching.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by G Crosse

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