WGCL Apologizes For Cutting Away From Tonys Minutes Before Best Musical Award

By Merrill Knox Comment

WGCL is facing anger from viewers after cutting away from the last minutes of the Tony Awards to air its late newscast Sunday evening. The Atlanta CBS affiliate went to local news at 11:00 p.m., just two minutes before the night’s final award, Best Musical, was presented. >UPDATE: WGCL has apologized. Read the statement after the jump.

WGCL, which was flooded with angry tweets and Facebook messages immediately after cutting away, tried to make amends with a fast update on the winners at the very end of the newscast (video above).

“We just checked for you Tony fans, and here are the final winners of tonight’s Tony awards,” anchor Bernard Watson said. “Cicely Tyson won her first Tony for her revival of the Horton Foote’s ‘The Trip to Beautiful Pippin’  — Bountiful Pippin, I should say. And ‘Pippin’ won for the Best Revival of a Musical. And finally, ‘Kenny Boots’ won the music — Kenny won the musical — 2013 Tony for Best Musical. That’s a mouthful.”

For the record, Tyson won for Best Actress in a Play for “The Trip to Bountiful,” “Pippin” won for Best Revival of a Musical, and “Kinky Boots” won for Best Musical.

Angry viewers took to WGCL’s Facebook page to voice their anger.

“You owe Atlanta and those of us who appreciate the arts a sincere apology,” one viewer wrote.

Another WGCL viewer wrote: “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to watch the Good Wife later than usual because football — note football!!! — ran late, but the Tony’s run late for maybe 7 minutes and you have to cut away for ‘it’s raining’ and an anchor who can’t even read his teleprompter correctly!”

“I rarely watch network TV these days, and last night’s colossal blunder reminded my why,” another comment reads.

Atlanta Magazine notes that the blunder was especially bad because “Bring It On: The Musical,” one of the nominees for Best Musical, originally premiered at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 2011.

WCGL issued a statement apologizing for the “human error” Monday morning:

Last night towards the end of the Tony Awards just after 11:00 p.m., WGCL encountered a few seconds of black and our local producers accepted that trigger as the end of the network broadcast and began our 11 p.m. newscast. The network feed of the Tony Awards was not over and WGCL did not air the final seven minutes of the broadcast. This was a human error and action is being taken to guarantee this does not happen again. We apologize to our viewers who were watching the broadcast. CBS Atlanta News is a passionate supporter of the arts; this error in no way reflects the opinion of WGCL-TV, CBS Atlanta News or its employees. We will be airing the final segment of the Tony Awards at the start of all newscasts at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. today.