The Tonys have tapped Kevin Spacey, an actor with top stage credentials and movie star power, to host the 71st annual Tony Awards on June 11 (CBS, 8 ET/PT).
The theater organizations that oversee the Tonys and CBS, which broadcasts the ceremony, announced the choice of Spacey on Tuesday. The selection is a departure from the recent trend of networks picking their late-night hosts to headline awards shows.
CBS late-night host and Tony winner James Corden, who hosted the telecast last year, is heading to London this spring to host three episodes of The Late Late Show (June 6-8).
Spacey, a first-time host of the celebration of Broadway theater, won a Tony for best actor in a featured role in a play for his performance in Lost in Yonkers in 1991. He won Oscars for 1995's The Usual Suspects and 1999's American Beauty and now stars in Netflix's House of Cards, for which he has earned four Emmy nominations.
“I was their second choice for Usual Suspects, fourth choice for American Beauty and 15th choice to host this year’s Tony Awards. I think my career is definitely going in the right direction,” Spacey said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Maybe I can get shortlisted to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down.”
CBS and two theater organizations that oversee the Tonys praised Spacey in statements issued Tuesday.
“A true star of television, film and theater, who better than Kevin Spacey to host this year’s Tony Awards?” said Jack Sussman, who heads CBS's coverage of specials and live events. “With his extensive repertoire, charisma and unparalleled dedication to live theater, we are thrilled to have him join us for this prestigious television event.”
Spacey's “spirit and passion for live theater makes him the perfect host, and we can’t wait to see the energy he brings to Radio City on Tony night!” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing.
In addition to his stage performances, Spacey also served as artistic director of The Old Vic Theatre Company in London.
Nominations for the 2017 Tony Awards will be announced May 2.
The Tonys saw their best ratings in 15 years (8.8 million viewers) with the 2016 show, thanks in large part to host Corden and the evening's big winner, Hamilton.
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