We knew that at some point during CBS’ lead-up to upfronts, we’d be hearing something in regards to the decision to bring Bull back for a fourth season. At the end of last year, there was controversy stemming from star Michael Weatherly’s reported inappropriate on-set behavior towards actress Eliza Dushku, one that eventually resulted in her receiving a sizable settlement. The backlash to some of what transpired with Weatherly was immediate at the time, and there was speculation that CBS could cancel the show and mostly try to move forward from all of the negative headlines.
Yet, they went ahead and opted to renew the show, even with executive producer Steven Spielberg and Amblin TV deciding to depart. So why make this choice? Per network executive Kelly Kahl (via TVLine), much of the decision had to do with their comfort level that Weatherly had learned from some of his past decisions and is ready to try and move forward with this series:
“Michael made a mistake … He owned that mistake… he was apologetic at the time; he was remorseful… [Michael made himself open to] whatever coaching or training is necessary to create a positive environment on set. He took everything very seriously and wanted to move forward.”
Ultimately, a lot of what happens in the future with this show now is going to be based on the show’s ratings, but we also don’t think that a lot of viewers who were initially upset about the scandal are going to be suddenly okay watching it, either. The opinions basically are what the opinions are at this point. CBS was apparently comfortable keeping Bull on the fall schedule, putting it in the same Monday timeslot that it had for this past season. While the ratings there were down versus where they were for the three seasons beforehand, they’re apparently still solid enough that the network wanted to keep the show around. Add to this the fact that Weatherly has an international following thanks to his time on NCIS, and it becomes a little bit easier in order to see financially why the live ratings are just a small piece of the overall puzzle. There is also the fact that after season 4, Bull could become eligible for syndication and that could also play a part in the network’s decision.
We’ll see what the future holds for Bull, but for now, we do assume that more questions could come in the direction of CBS. This is still something that they haven’t spoken all that much about since the scandal first broke, and while we understand that much of the matter with Dushku may have taken place over a year ago, the news was a little more recent in terms of the public finding out.
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