How and where to watch the Tony Awards and why it’s so confusing this year

The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing have split the evening into two events, and not all of it will air on CBS this year.

How and where to watch the Tony Awards and why it’s so confusing this year
[Source images: Baris-Ozer/iStock; digitalgenetics/iStock]

After a long delay and the most devastating season in Broadway history, the 74th Annual Tony Awards are finally happening tonight (Sunday, September 26), but they won’t be the usual affair theater lovers have come to expect, and much of the presentation won’t even air on network television.


Instead, what the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing have done is essentially split the evening into two two-hour events: The first portion (hosted by Audra McDonald, who’s up for her seventh Tony) will feature most of the award presentations for the pandemic-disrupted 2019-2020 Broadway season, followed by a “Broadway’s Back!” concert event (hosted by Award winner Leslie Odom Jr.) that will include performances from the nominees for Best Musical plus a host of past Tony winners, and a live presentation of the Awards in three top categories—Best Play, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Musical. This second half will be broadcast on CBS, but the major portion of the ceremony can only be streamed on Paramount+, the subscription service owned by CBS’s parent company.

Dizzy yet? No need to be. We’ve broken it down for you, below. The show must go on, after all:

Tony Awards presentation

  • Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET
  • Host: Audra McDonald
  • Where it will happen: Winter Garden Theatre
  • Who’s nominated? Full list here
  • Where it will air: Paramount+

The Tony Awards Presents: Broadway’s Back!

  • Time: 9 p.m to 11 p.m. ET
  • Host: Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Who’s performing? Full list here
  • What else is happening? Announcements for Best Play, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Musical
  • Where it will air: CBS and Paramount+

How to watch or stream these events live

  • Paramount+: This is the subscription-based streaming service where you can watch the ceremony and concert. It’s offering a free trial. Find it here.
  • Streaming services with CBS: A number of streaming bundles offer CBS, including Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV, and FuboTV.
  • CBS website and mobile apps: If you have login credentials from a pay-TV company, you can stream CBS live via its website and mobile apps on iOS or Android.
  • OTA antennas: CBS is an over-the-air broadcast network and available for free with an antenna.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine