When CBS announced its list of recent renewals for the upcoming 2019-2020 season, one surprise entry was “Bull.” The legal drama was the source of controversy at the end of last year, when actress Eliza Dushku detailed a history of alleged sexual harassment from series star Michael Weatherly.
Dushku is no longer part of “Bull” as it moves toward a Season 4, and she wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed that Weatherly had made a number of inappropriate comments aimed at her, enough to make her fearful of coming to set.
“There was daily undeniably demeaning conduct that is unacceptable in an absolute sense…Weatherly sexually harassed and bullied me day-in and day-out and would have gotten away with it had he not been caught on tape,” Dushku wrote. After her claims against Weatherly, she and the network reached a $9.5 million settlement in 2018.
When asked on Wednesday about bringing the show back despite the accusations, CBS President Kelly Kahl claimed that Weatherly has done enough to apologize and atone for his actions.
“Michael made a mistake in his comments. He owned that mistake. He was apologetic at the time, and he was remorseful,” Kahl said.
Kahl described that the network had changed its on-set monitoring policy for its series in the wake of the settlement with Dushku. He also described a timeline of events where network executives found out about the charges when the public did. “He was willing to take any kind of coaching or training we deem necessary for him to create a positive environment on the set,” Kahl said.
Kahl, who took over as the network’s president in the wake of the scandal surrounding former CBS head Les Moonves, did not say whether Weatherly faced direct disciplinary consequences for the actions that led to Dushku’s departure. “He, I believe, took everything very seriously and wants to move forward. He’s a dad, he’s a father. He was upset by this. He wants to make it better,” he said.
“Bull” wrapped up its third season earlier this week with Monday night’s finale. It was the highest rated episode since January, but was down almost 39% in viewership from last May’s Season 2 closer.