May 8, 2008 / 9:55 PM / 10 years ago

Whoopi Goldberg to host Broadway's Tony Awards

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Stage and screen star Whoopi Goldberg will host Broadway’s 62nd annual Tony Awards next month after the show went two years without a single master of ceremonies, organizers said on Thursday

Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd during the 18th annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) award show in New York March 26, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The June 15 show, to be broadcast live on CBS from Radio City Music Hall in New York, will mark Goldberg’s first turn as emcee of American theater’s highest honors. She has served as solo host of the Oscars four times, most recently in 2002.

“I’m very excited to be hosting the Tony Awards,” Goldberg, 52, said in a statement. “I love Broadway and I’m thrilled to be doing anything for the first time. I’m gonna have a blast.”

Goldberg, who currently serves as moderator for the daytime ABC chat show “The View,” is herself a Tony winner as producer of the 2002 Broadway musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

She also has won a Grammy for her 1995 self-titled comedy album, an Academy Award as best supporting actress in film hit “Ghost,” and Golden Globe awards for her performances in “Ghost” and “The Color Purple.”

Presented by the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theatres and Producers, the Tonys have been televised on CBS since 1978. But the show has suffered a marked ratings slide in recent years.

Last year’s ceremony fell to its lowest ratings in at least 14 years, averaging just 6.2 million viewers, but that show may have lost some of its audience by airing opposite the much-anticipated finale to HBO’s mob drama “The Sopranos.”

The choice of Goldberg, known for her freewheeling, provocative comic style, was clearly aimed at appealing to a larger TV audience after two years in a row featuring a parade of high-profile presenters but no solo host for the awards.

The last person to emcee the Tonys single-handedly was Hugh Jackman for the 2005 show.

Nominations for the 62nd annual Tonys are slated to be announced next Tuesday.

The awards were founded in 1947 as a memorial to Antoinette (“Tony”) Perry, the American Theatre Wing’s chairwoman during World War II.

Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Vicki Allen

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