Kevin Spacey to Host 71st Annual Tony Awards

Kevin Spacey has been picked to host this year’s Tony Awards, putting the award-winning star of “House of Cards” in the unenviable position of steering a telecast surely facing a post-“Hamilton” hangover.

The telecast on June 11 will originate from the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall and producers are sure to be keeping their fingers crossed that they avoid any technical or human snafus that have marred previous awards shows this year, including the wrong winner announced at the Oscars and sound issues at the Grammys.

Producers also hope Spacey will limit the audience erosion likely from the numbers last year when “Hamilton” drew 8.73 million viewers, up 35% from 2015. Last year’s host was James Corden and 2015 saw Kristin Chenoweth teaming up with Alan Cumming.

The nominations for the 2017 TONY Awards will be announced on Tuesday, May 2.

“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,” said Spacey. “Maybe I can get shortlisted to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down.”

Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “American Beauty,” and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in “The Usual Suspects.” Recently, he starred in “Elvis & Nixon.” Next, he will be seen in the feature films “Billionaire Boys Club,” “Baby Driver” and “Rebel in the Rye.” Through his former production company Trigger Street, he produced “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks, “The Social Network” and “21,” as well having produced the Emmy nominated television series “Recount” and “Bernard & Doris.”

For over a decade, Spacey served as the Artistic Director of The Old Vic Theatre Company in London. He recently stepped down from this role, but during his time appeared on stage in productions of “National Anthems,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Speed the Plow,” “Inherit the Wind,” “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” and the acclaimed production of the one-man show “Darrow.” Spacey won the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Actor for his role in “The Iceman Cometh,” as well as the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play in Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers.” Also, he starred in the Broadway and West End productions of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” opposite his mentor Jack Lemmon, as well as the title role in the Sam Mendes production of “Richard III,” which toured 12 cities around the world as part of the three-year Old Vic/BAM/Bridge Project.

This year marks the 71st anniversary of the TONY Awards, which were first held on April 6, 1947 at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The ceremony is presented by Tony Award Productions, which is a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tonys.

(AP, CBS)

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Peabody Awards Ceremony to Air June 2 on PBS and Fusion

The Peabody Awards says it has partnered with PBS and the Fusion network for a special TV broadcast of the 76th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony.

The red-carpet event will take place May 20 in New York. A joint broadcast of that program is scheduled to air June 2. The collaboration marks the first time the awards ceremony will be telecast on both national broadcast and cable television. Rashida Jones, who appeared in the Peabody-winning “Parks and Recreation,” will serve as the evening’s host.

The 30 winners, representing the best in electronic media, will be revealed in a series of announcements beginning April 12.

Founded in 1940, the Peabody Awards are based at the University of Georgia. (AP)

Farewell FAO Schwarz: Last Day of Business at NYC Toy Store

Tom Hanks danced on a large floor piano there in the movie “Big.” Multitudes of children wandered through the aisles, wide-eyed with delight at the giant stuffed animals and other toys. And a fair number of parents winced at some of the price tags.

FAO Schwarz on Fifth Avenue, probably the best-known toy store in the world, is closing Wednesday night.

Owner Toys R Us announced the decision in May, citing the high and rising costs of running the 45,000-square-foot retail space on pricey Fifth Avenue. Though the flagship store is closing its doors for good, it may reopen elsewhere in midtown Manhattan.

FAO Schwarz says it is the oldest toy store in the U.S., with a New York City location since 1870. Reported celeb sightings – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West before they were parents! Moms Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham! – have helped fuel the fantasy since the flagship store opened in 1986.

The Fifth Avenue fixture included a candy store, personal shoppers and three levels of specialty toy departments.

“The baby department at FAO Schwarz is the ultimate destination when luxury shopping for little ones,” the store’s online fact sheet advised.

When those babies reached ‘tweenhood, they’d need specialty skin care products: “It’s never too early to start protecting one’s natural beauty!”

The store was featured in several movies, including “Big,” where Tom Hanks danced on its floor piano (signage called it The Big Piano.)

Nick Jonas stopped by and hopped around the piano in December while singing “Jealous.”

Toys R Us of Wayne, New Jersey, has been privately held since 2005. It bought the FAO Schwarz brand in 2009. (AP)

‘Letterman’ Cue Card Man Fired for Colleague Clash

David Letterman’s longtime cue-card holder says he wound up cuing his own firing by getting aggressive with a colleague.

Tony Mendez tells the New York Post (http://bit.ly/ZKEOSD ) in a story published Sunday he lost his job after grabbing a co-worker by the shirt Oct. 9 behind the scenes at CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman.”

CBS directed an inquiry to Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants. A spokesman said Worldwide Pants won’t comment on personnel matters.

Attempts to reach Mendez weren’t immediately successful Sunday.

The 69-year-old Mendez tells the Post he knows he knows he shouldn’t have laid a hand on his colleague. He says Letterman wasn’t apprised of any tensions between the two.

Mendez has become familiar to “Late Show” viewers, appearing in episodes going back to at least 1997.
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Information from: New York Post, http://www.nypost.com (AP)

‘Sharknado 2’ Whipped Up Storm of Viewers, Tweets

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Syfy says its sequel to the horror spoof “Sharknado” snapped up 3.9 million viewers Wednesday night.

The film, officially titled “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” nearly tripled the 1.37 million viewers who saw last summer’s premiere of the original “Sharknado” film.

Meanwhile, Nielsen estimates that 5.5 million people saw one or more of the 581,000 tweets posted during the airing. At one point, the film held all top 10 trending topics in the United States. By comparison, 318,000 tweets about the first “Sharknado” film were posted when it premiered last July.

In campy fashion, “Sharknado 2” moved the action from Los Angeles to New York City, which was besieged by its own fearsome storm of rain and falling sharks.

Syfy said the film will air again Saturday and Sunday. (AP)

For 25th Anniversary, Beard Awards Move to Chicago

Chicago is adding another jewel to its culinary crown. After 24 years in New York City, the James Beard Foundation awards ceremony is moving to Chicago next year.

It’s more proof that Chicago is home to one of the country’s hottest restaurant scenes.

The James Beard Foundation is based in New York and honors the nation’s best chefs and restaurants.

Several cities had sought to host the awards, but the foundation said Chicago’s offer of marketing and sponsorship support was too good to turn down.

The James Beard awards have always been held in New York since the event began in 1990. Beard, considered the dean of American cooking, died in 1985.

The next awards ceremony will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on May 4, 2015. (AP)

NBC Taps Seth Meyers as Next Emmys Host

Seth Meyers will take his late-night act to prime time as the next host of the Emmy Awards.

NBC, home to Meyers in his long stint on “Saturday Night Live” and his new late-night talk show, announced late Thursday that he’ll host the 66th edition of the Emmys set to air on the network Aug. 25.

Neil Patrick Harris hosted in 2013.

It will be telecast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

The 40-year-old Meyers, himself an Emmy winner, debuted as host of “Late Night With Seth Meyers” in February, taking over the slot of Jimmy Fallon, who moved on to “The Tonight Show.”

Before that he had been on “SNL” since 2001 and served as the show’s head writer since 2006. (AP)