Tonys bring in to celebs for awards

June 3, 2004 at 8:09 AM

NEW YORK, June 3 (UPI) -- Broadway's Tony Awards producers have lined up some of Hollywood's top actors, including Nicole Kidman, to appear at the event to improve ratings.

TV ratings, which have slipped for the awards show in recent years, are up for grabs when the U.S. theater industry recognizes its best during a CBS TV special Sunday, a night when HBO's "The Sopranos" season finale and the National Basketball Association's playoffs also will air, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Other A-list celebrities set to appear on the show include actresses Anna Paquin and Scarlett Johansson, rapper L.L. Cool J, singer Tony Bennett, comedian Jimmy Fallon and hip-hop diva Mary J. Blige, who will perform a song from "A Chorus Line," the Times said.

"We wanted to reach out to people who wouldn't necessarily watch the Tonys without alienating those that do," said Ricky Kirshner, one of the show's producers.

"The focus at the Tonys has always been, don't lose your core audience and try to build on it. But we've never gone to this newer pool," he said.

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