NEW YORK — The Tony Awards with hopping host Hugh Jackman couldn't leapfrog last year's show in the ratings or the NBA Finals.
According to preliminary Nielsen figures released Monday, Sunday's CBS telecast crowning "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" as Broadway's best musical had an average viewership of 7.02 million viewers, a dip from last year's 7.24 million.
The broadcast was up against Game 2 of the NBA finals between San Antonio and Miami, which pulled in 15 million viewers on average. It was still the second-largest Tony audience in the last five years.
Neil Patrick Harris, the show's longtime host, ceded control to Jackman this year. Harris, in his drag costume from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," gave Sting a lap dance and took Samuel L. Jackson's glasses away and licked them. Jackman curiously opened the show by bouncing through his opening sequence but settled down to be a genial, smooth host.
Another potential competitor for eyeballs Sunday was the Miss USA pageant from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It attracted 5.5 million viewers, up 21 percent from last year.