‘Bull’: The Only Reason CBS Would Replace Michael Weatherly
CBS President Kahl is currently facing backlash following the network’s decision to renew Bull in the face of Eliza Dushku’s sexual harassment allegations against the show’s lead, Michael Weatherly. To make matters worse, the president recently defended the renewal on fiscal grounds. Placing money over morals, as many have since argued, President Kahl stated:
It’s a very popular show. More than 10 million people watch every week. Michael is loved by our audience, and even after these allegations came out, people continued to watch. It’s a popular show we want to keep on our air, and it’s a very good show as well.
Eliza Dushku chronicled the extent of her sexual harassment allegations in an essay for The Boston Globe. However, CBS continues to defended Weatherly following the $9.5 million settlement, often citing Weatherly’s “leadership training” as evidence of his (and the network’s) commitment to a healthy work environment.
Former Bull enthusiasts, boycotting the renewal, argue that the series should be canceled or Michael Weatherly should be replaced. Given CBS’s money-making motivations, it appears that CBS will only replace Michael Weatherly under specific circumstances.
This would likely lead to CBS replacing Michael Weatherly in ‘Bull’
CBS has made its stance clear; undermining the MeToo movement, the network remains fiscally focused at the cost of its reputation. Most would argue that the right, upstanding move should have been executed. However, based on Kahl’s statement, the show will go on, since people kept watching. People kept watching and, as a result, CBS arguably fueled the propagation of abuse of power in the industry.
If you’re one of the many former Bull viewers who believe Michael Weatherly should face the consequences of his actions (and that leadership coaching does not suffice), there is only one way to force CBS to replace Weatherly: don’t watch season four.
CBS is focused on money; thus, if Bull’s ratings drop, the network may be forced to cancel the show or replace Michael Weatherly. Given the president’s commitment to the success of the network above all else, he will not keep Weatherly around if he believes the actor is bad for the network’s continued growth. If season four ratings see a drastic decline, it will be an obvious indication of fans’ dissatisfaction with the network’s choice to renew.
CBS has made clear that Michael Weatherly will not be replaced, and that the show will continue on as it has this fall. Season four may be a guarantee for Weatherly, but season five remains up in the air.
A drastic decline in ratings will likely lead the network to make the decision many agree should have made earlier. However, instead of it being a righteous move, it will be a slimy one. Instead of standing up for what’s right, the network’s head honchos will be protecting their pockets.
Bull can survive without Michael Weatherly; the show merely needs to find a TV actor with a decent reputation in the biz to catalyze a renewed excitement for the series.