The Hamilton halo lifted Sunday night’s Tony Awards to its biggest TV audience in 15 years. Per preliminary Nielsen data, the 70th annual kudofest drew 8.7 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m., a dramatic 35 percent jump over last year’s tune-in of 6.5 million and the most for a Tonys since 2001’s broadcast attracted 8.9 million viewers. The combination of Hamilton mania (the show was nominated for a record 16 awards, and won 11) and new host James Corden also helped lure a much younger audience to the Tonys. The event averaged a 1.6 rating among viewers under 50, the best demo number for a Tonys since 2003. These numbers are even more impressive in context: Overall TV ratings have fallen sharply over the past five years, with awards shows no longer immune to the declines. Last September’s Emmys were the least-watched ever, while the most recent Oscar and Grammy telecasts also took big Nielsen hits. Bottom line: The 2016 Tonys didn’t just score a big success — it also won by Defying Gravity.
James Corden, the man of the hour.