As Broadway prepares for the Tony Awards on Sunday, CBS has kicked into promotional high gear, with comedian James Corden cross-pollinating his role as host of the network's "The Late Late Show" with his new role as the award show's emcee.
With the Tony Awards ratings down 10% last year, show organizers are betting that Corden's popular appeal, combined with the ubiquity of the hit musical "Hamilton," will juice viewership for the annual broadcast.
Corden recently brought his recurring "Late Late Show" segment known as "Carpool Karaoke" to the streets of New York alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer and star of "Hamilton."
In the segment, Corden and Miranda sing along to the "Hamilton" soundtrack before picking up Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski, who join in singing numbers from "Rent" and "Les Miserables."
"They want to have a good time," McDonald said to Corden, by way of Tony hosting advice. Later, Corden asked Ferguson: "Which do you prefer: Theater or money?"
The "Modern Family" actor, who is on Broadway in the solo play "Fully Committed," replied: "I'm literally paying someone to allow me to do theater this summer."
Sunday's ceremony will take place at the Beacon Theatre in New York and will air live on CBS, with a delay for the West Coast.
The Tonys have been recently struggling with ratings. Last year, ratings dropped 10% to about 6.4 million viewers, in large part due to competition from the NBA finals.
Viewership plummeted to a little more than 6 million in 2012, but rebounded somewhat the following year to about 7.2 million. The most recent high remains the 2009 telecast, which saw 7.4 million viewers overall.
Corden is a past Tony winner for "One Man, Two Guvnors" in 2012. "Hamilton" has received 16 nominations, more than any other show in the award show's history.