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Tony Awards Consider New Helmer

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Running the Tony Awards is, according to current wisdom, more difficult than winning one.

For the last two years, Edgar Dobie has been managing producer of the annual telecasts, but published reports indicate he is soon to be replaced by Elizabeth Ireland McCann. Dobie is producer of the forthcoming Broadway musical "Tom Sawyer"; McCann is also a producer with dozens of credits, currently represented on Broadway with "Copenhagen."

Fewer than seven million viewers tuned into the most recent CBS broadcast of the Tonys, prompting numerous rumors about the future of the awards show. One such rumor held that host Rosie O'Donnell would not be asked to return, while others suggested Dobie would be let go. The gossip picked up steam when The New York Times reported Fri., Oct. 27 that the two groups that oversee the awards, the League of American Theatres and Producers and the American Theatre Wing, are nearing an agreement on McCann as the managing producer for next year's show.

It also reported that Dobie said he was "thrilled" to hear his replacement would be named soon, and said, "It's a hell of a lot of work."

Tony Awards press spokesperson Keith Sherman told Back Stage on Tues., Oct. 31 that a decision would be reached "within the next week, if not sooner," but would not elaborate further.

In a very brief telephone interview, McCann told Back Stage that the League and the Wing are "still ironing things out." Asked directly if she had already made plans for next year's Tony ceremony, she said, "I can't say anything else. I get in too much trouble when I do," and then hung up.

She was somewhat more talkative with the Times, however, saying, "I'm going to try to make it more entertaining."

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