The Host with the Most!

‘There’s only room for one of us in this town’ said the hero in every John Wayne movie before a Western face off. While this line may be cliché in the movie world, it is one of the best business principles you can live by. The Tony Awards learnt this last year when ratings fell dramatically to 6.4 million (one of the worst in many years) going up against the big NBA finals. But they have changed their strategy this year . . . and it starts with the host.


Don’t get me wrong, last year’s co-hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming are both phenomenal performers. Between them they have originated one of the most popular roles in Wicked and starred (twice!) in one of Broadway’s most popular revivals, Cabaret. But their presence at the front of the Tony Awards didn’t draw in the ratings the organising committee would have liked. So how did they fix that this year?

You invite an incredibly powerful member of the media to host the entire event . . . Enter, James Corden!

James Corden is a legitimate performer. He has mastered television for every demographic from Gavin & Stacey to Doctor Who to hosting A League Of Their Own. He has starred in movies for musical theatre fans, kids and more mature markets with Into the Woods, the upcoming Trolls and Lady in a Van just some of his credits. He has starred in live theatre leading One Man, Two Guvnors on both the West End and Broadway. And he has nailed down the art of hosting on The Late, Late Show with James Corden.

Not only does he have incredibly wide appeal. He also hosts an important media outlet which reaches over a million people every night.

But even with all these impressive credits to his name, they don’t make a successful Tony Awards choice by themselves. What does? His mastery of social media . . . specifically YouTube!

James Corden has been behind some of the biggest viral videos of the last six months. From his hilarious nightly game show style segments to his most important invention (and segment garnering the most popular Late Night television show video EVER) Carpool Karaoke. Each episode is seen by millions and millions of people with the Adele video currently sitting at 107 million views.

And because he is hosting the Tony Awards this weekend, of course there is some cross promotion including this week’s Carpool Karaoke featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski.

Very careful selection has gone into this episode. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Audra McDonald are probably the two biggest stars on Broadway at the moment, but they don’t have enough awareness in the wider American music community to create the accessible viral videos that The Late, Late Show produces. Team them up with two Broadway performers who have a much bigger television and movie fan base and you have a recipe for success and incredible awareness of this week’s Tony Awards. Check it out here.