Tony Awards 2016: Audience largest since 2001

NEW YORK -- CBS' Tony Awards on Sunday beat last year's audience by one-third.

The broadcast drew 8.73 million viewers, up 35 percent from last year, according to preliminary ratings from the Nielsen Co. It is the largest audience for the show since 2001.

The surge was even more pronounced in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic, with that rating notching a 60 percent increase from 2015.

James Corden, host of CBS' "The Late Late Show," presided over the awardscast, which saw a sweep by the Broadway musical "Hamilton," yet had somber moments in the wake of Saturday's nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida.

Last year's telecast - hosted by Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth - was watched by a mere 6.46 million viewers. In 2014, it reached 7.02 million and captured 7.24 million in 2013.