ShareThis Page
CBS defends ‘Bull’ renewal despite sexual harassment claims | TribLIVE.com
Movies/TV

CBS defends ‘Bull’ renewal despite sexual harassment claims

Associated Press
1165511_web1_gtr-liv-bull-01-051719
AP file
In this Nov. 1, 2016, file photo, Michael Weatherly attends a special screening of "Doctor Strange" at AMC Empire 25 in New York. CBS is defending the renewal of "Bull" despite sexual harassment claims against Weatherly.

Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, defended on Wednesday the decision to renew the TV drama “Bull” despite allegations of sexual harassment against star Michael Weatherly, which resulted in a $9.5-million settlement with his accuser, actress Eliza Dushku.

In a breakfast with reporters ahead of CBS’ annual upfront presentation in New York City — the first following the departure of chairman and chief executive Leslie Moonves amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment — Kahl said many at the network had not been aware of the settlement when the news was first reported by the New York Times in December.

“We found out when you found out. so when it came time to make a decision, we wanted to look at it through a fresh lens,” he said.

“Michael made a mistake in his comments, he owned that mistake, he was apologetic at the time, he was remorseful,” Kahl added. “He indicated to us that he is willing to take any kind of coaching or training that we deem necessary for him to create a positive environment on the set.”

Kahl also said the network considered his work overall, including his 13 seasons on “NCIS.”

“There was never any complaint about him before, and there hasn’t been anything after,” he said. “I believe he took everything very seriously and he wants to move forward. He’s a dad, he’s a father. He was upset by this and wants to make it better.

“When we look at the totality of the situation, we felt comfortable bringing ‘Bull’ back on the air,” he continued. He also confirmed that Weatherly had availed himself of the offer for training.

Last week, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television cut ties with the series.

Kahl also said the network was taking new measures to prevent future misconduct, including expanded training for actors, crews and writers; a team of human-resources professionals visiting sets on a regular basis; anonymous hotlines and email accounts for complaints; and a new compliance officer who is streamlining the process for reporting misconduct. CBS considers these measures “the best in the industry right now.”

“We are committed to making our workplace, our sets, our writers’ rooms as safe as possible, as welcoming as possible, as comfortable as possible,” Kahl said. “That commitment comes from the very top of our company.”

In “Bull,” Weatherly plays a brash jury consultant loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw. He also starred as the wisecracking special agent Anthony DiNozzo in “NCIS.”

Over the past year, CBS has been rocked by scandals and high-profile departures, starting with Moonves, who was ousted last year following multiple allegations of sexual assault.

The network’s news division has undergone a dramatic overhaul, following the departures of “CBS This Morning” anchor Charlie Rose and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager.

Categories: AandE | Movies TV
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.