Striking Hollywood writers vow not to picket Tony Awards, opening door to some kind of spectacle
NEW YORK — Striking members of the Writers Guild of America have said they will not picket the Tony Awards telecast next month, solving a thorny issue facing show organizers and opening the door to a sort of of Broadway razzle-dazzle on television.
The union last week rejected a request from Tony organizers for a waiver for their glitzy June 11 live show. He reiterated that in a statement late Monday, saying the guild “will not be negotiating an interim agreement or waiver for the Tony Awards.”
But the guild held out hope that some sort of Tony show could continue, saying organizers are ‘modifying this year’s show to conform to specific WGA requests, and therefore the WGA will not be picketing. “. It was unclear what is changed, but it may be to allow an unscripted version of the Tonys to continue.
The strike, which has already clouded late-night TV shows like “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and “Saturday Night Live” and delayed the making of scripted TV shows, peril the theatre’s biggest night, the one that many Broadway shows rely on to spark the interest of millions of watchers.
The union – representing 11,500 film, TV and other forms of entertainment writers – has been on strike since May 2, primarily over streaming media royalties. Although the guild does not represent Broadway writers, it does represent writers who work on the Tonys telecast.
Tony’s organizers faced a stark choice after the waiver request was denied: either postpone the ceremony until the strike is over, or announce the winners at an untelevised reception that would ask contestants to step through picket lines. Monday’s decision means the possibility of a third way: an unscripted show that relies heavily on performance.
That’s largely what happened in the 1988 awards, which aired during a Writers Guild of America walkout. Host Angela Lansbury and presenters speak impromptu and with performances from shows such as “A Chorus Line” and “Anything Goes.”
Prior to the Writers Guild of America’s decision, a two-part Tony ceremony had been planned, with a pre-show of performances broadcast live on Pluto, and the main awards ceremony broadcast live on CBS and broadcast live. to premium members of Peacock.
The big award show premiere during the current strike was the MTV movie & TV Awards, which had no host and relied on recycled clips and a handful of pre-recorded acceptance speeches. The strike also disrupted the PEN America Gala and the Peabody Awards, which celebrates broadcasting and streaming, canceled their June 11 awards show on Monday.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits