CBS boss defends Bull star Michael Weatherly as show succeeds despite harassment charge

TV bosses at CBS have defended their decision to renew legal drama series Bull in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against the show’s star, Michael Weatherly.

CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday (01Aug19) that the show would have been canned if viewers had turned off after the actor was accused of inappropriate behaviour and making ill-advised remarks by former co-star Eliza Dushku.

“It’s a very popular show,” Kahl said. “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 very good show as well.”

Weatherly was accused of harassment by former recurring guest star Dushku last year (18) and she went on to win a $9.5 million (£7.8 million) settlement from the network after she was fired from the show.

Kahl previously defended the show’s fourth season renewal in May, insisting Weatherly “owned the mistake” and “was willing to take any kind of coaching or training” they deemed necessary.

On Thursday, Kahl confirmed that Weatherly agreed to participate in a leadership training series.

He also previously apologised for anything he said that may have offended Dushku.

“We found out about the settlement at the same time that you did,” Kahl added. “We took a 360 view of the entire situation when we found out about that. We wanted to look at it with fresh eyes. What we found was, in Michael’s case, no incidents, no complaints at his time at Bull and none on either side of the isolated incident on Bull. He was, at the time, remorseful and apologetic. When the settlement came out and was made public, he was remorseful again and apologised.

“He is undergoing coaching right now – leadership coaching. He is taking his responsibility as the head of a show to make a set a positive place to work.”

Bull returns to CBS for a fourth season on 23 September (19).

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