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Published: Thursday, 5/12/2011

Stage veteran Neil Patrick Harris to host Tony Awards

BY MARK KENNEDY
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK -- Neil Patrick Harris will return as host for the upcoming Tony Awards.

Producers of the show announced Tuesday that the star of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother and a stage veteran would take over from former Will & Grace actor Sean Hayes, who was last year's host.

Harris joked that producers of the show had borrowed the rigging equipment from the troubled Spider-Man musical. "What could possibly go wrong?" he asked.

This time, the ceremony honoring the best on Broadway will be at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan's Upper West Side after several years at Radio City Music Hall.

The awards will be handed out June 12 in a telecast aired on CBS (WTOL-TV, Channel 11 in Toledo.).

Harris, 37, has starred in three Broadway productions, including Assassins, Proof, opposite Anne Heche, and as the exuberant master of ceremonies in Cabaret.

He recently joined Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks, and Patti LuPone in the New York Philharmonic's production of Company.

Harris hosted the 2009 Emmy Awards the same year he hosted the Tonys.

The last time Harris hosted the Tonys, the audience was up 19 percent from the previous year.

The Nielsen Co. said last year's show was seen by about 7 million people. That's down 6 percent from the 2009 audience.



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