Top CBS Exec on Why ‘Bull’ Got Renewed After Michael Weatherly Harassment Settlement
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 () CBS has addressed the decision to renew “Bull” for a fourth season, despite the network having to pay a settlement to Eliza Dushku after she complained about star Michael Weatherly’s behavior.
“He owned that mistake,” CBS Entertainment chief Kelly Kahl said Wednesday during the network’s upfront press briefing. “He was apologetic at the time.” Kahl also noted Weatherly’s long relationship with the network — he starred on “NCIS” from 2003-2016 — as being a factor in their decision.
“There was never any complaint about him before and there hasn’t been anything after,” Kahl continued.
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Last year, it was revealed that CBS agreed to pay Dushku a $9.5 million settlement following her complaint that she was written off the drama after she confronted series star Weatherly about multiple instances of inappropriate behavior. Kahl said they found out about the settlement when the New York Times reported it in November.
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Dushku, who was tapped to a play major role with the possibility of becoming a full-time cast member, was soon written off the show after she confronted Weatherly over comments she said made her uncomfortable, according to the report. According to Dushku, Weatherly made comments about her appearance in front of the crew. She also said he made a rape joke and a comment about a threesome.
“We wanted to go back and reassess what happened,” Kahl continued. “He [Weatherly] has indicted to us that he’s willing to take any kind of coaching or whatever training that we deem necessary for him to create a positive environment on the set.” Last week, Kahl announced new human resources procedures for CBS TV Studios productions, including a confidential third-part reporting system and new on-set HR reps for all of its shows.
A few hours after CBS renewed “Bull” for a fourth season, Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin TV dropped out as a producer for the show, though the company would not specify the exact reason. Spielberg and Amblin TV co-heads Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey served as executive producers on “Bull” for its first three seasons.
“We are perfectly comfortable producing the show,” Kahl said.
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