WGA Won’t Picket The Tony Awards But Says No Talks For Interim Deal – Update

UPDATED, 7:06 PM: The WGA East said tonight that it won’t picket the Tony Awards next month but reiterated that it will not negotiate an interim agreement or a waiver for the show.

Here is the guild’s full statement:

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As has been previously reported, the Writers Guilds of America East and West (WGA) will not negotiate an interim agreement or a waiver for the Tony Awards.

However, Tony Awards Productions (a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing) has communicated with us that they are altering this year’s show to conform with specific requests from the WGA, and therefore the WGA will not be picketing the show.

Responsibility for having to make changes to the format of the 2023 Tony Awards rests squarely on the shoulders of Paramount/CBS and their allies. They continue to refuse to negotiate a fair contract for the writers represented by the WGA.

As they have stood by us, we stand with our fellow workers on Broadway who are impacted by our strike.

PREVIOUSLY, 9:51 AM: No decisions were reached at today’s emergency meeting of the Tony Awards Management Committee, a get-together in which contingency plans were discussed in light of last week’s news that the June 11 ceremony will not be televised on CBS due to the Writers Guild of America strike.

The key issue to be determined is whether or not the Tony organizers will stick to the June 11 date, televised or not. Sources close to the situation say that Tony organizers are making a last-ditch effort to convince the WGA to issue the strike waiver or agree not to picket the event in order to allow the June 11 ceremony to go on as planned with CBS airing the broadcast and Paramount+ streaming the event.

Short of that, Tony organizers – the Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing, exec producers White Cherry Entertainment – will have to decide whether to go forward with the awards presentation on June 11 in a non-televised ceremony or even a press conference-style announcement, or to postpone the ceremony until after the strike. The latter option is unlikely, at best.

Whether other contingency plans are being considered is unclear. None of the three organizers have commented on the matter. Tony voters are set to begin casting ballots tomorrow.

Last week, the Writers Guild of America denied producers of the Tony Awards a requested strike waiver that would have allowed the ceremony to proceed without picket lines, and possibly with WGA writers penning the script as usual, a necessary step in getting the show broadcast on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

The waiver denial sent a shockwave through an industry that prizes the annual CBS broadcast as national exposure crucial to ticket sales, publicity and marketing.

The Tony Awards are set – at least for now – for Sunday, June 11 at the United Palace in New York City’s Washington Heights. Whether Ariana DeBose will remain attached to a scaled-down, non-televised ceremony is unclear.

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