Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television walks away from producing CBS’s ‘Bull’

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Back in December, we learned that Eliza Dushku had successfully sued and settled with CBS because she had been sexually harassed by Michael Weatherly. Eliza had a recurring guest role on Bull, a hit CBS show which was produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Weatherly was one of then-CBS-president Les Moonves’ favorites. Before Moonves was outed as a Harvey Weinstein-esque serial predator, Moonves protected Weatherly. Weatherly had been a part of CBS’s crown jewel, NCIS, a huge money-maker for the network, and when he left that show, Weatherly immediately got the lead in Bull. My point is that Weatherly was always a CBS problem and a Moonves problem, and Weatherly was given free rein to harass Eliza (and likely other women). Still, it looked terrible that Spielberg was still executive producing Bull, even though Spielberg personally didn’t have much to do with it. And now that’s over – Amblin Television will no longer produce Bull, but Bull will remain on the air at CBS:

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television is walking away from CBS’ popular legal drama Bull in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against star Michael Weatherly. A rep for Amblin confirmed to Deadline that Steven Spielberg, Amblin Television, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey are no longer attached to Bull,, declining further comment. Spielberg and Amblin TV co-heads Frank and Falvey served as executive producers on Bull for its first three seasons. The procedural drama was just renewed by CBS for a fourth season.

Bull, which has been a solid ratings performer for CBS, was never in doubt for renewal though the show became a center of controversy earlier this season over sexual harassment allegations against Weatherly by then-co-star Eliza Dushku, which resulted in a $9.5 settlement between the actress and CBS.

Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw have been major supporters of the Time’s Up movement from the start, and I hear Spielberg, who had met with Dushku, didn’t want to be associated with the series any longer. That is a bold move since a long-running CBS procedural is considered one of the most lucrative propositions in the TV business, often associated with a financial windfall for producers.

“I actually spent the morning with the three heads of the Time’s Up organization and Mr. Steven Spielberg,” Dushku said in a March interview with Deadline. “We sat and brainstormed and discussed possible solutions for this systemic imbalance of power, the abuse and harassment that we’ve been seeing and hearing and experiencing and both in our industry and beyond.”

[From Deadline]

When Eliza was finally able to speak about what happened to her, she initially namechecked Spielberg, but not in a career-ending “it’s Spielberg’s responsibility!” way. She was just like: this is what happened to me on a show you produce, please do something about it if you care about what you say you care about. It took months but Amblin finally stepped away. I’m glad. But I’m also concerned that Amblin stepped away because they couldn’t figure out a way to do anything about the toxic environment on the Bull set. That’s what Eliza made it sound like – that Weatherly had just surrounded himself with his toxic bros and that they treated the set like the Playboy Club or whatever.

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7 Responses to “Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television walks away from producing CBS’s ‘Bull’”

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  1. sara6 says:

    Abusers pick their prey by making often correct judgements about people’s past abuse. Michael Weatherly probably did that with Eliza. Imagine if men like that used that kind of intuition for good instead of evil?

  2. Tiffany says:

    Yeah, Spielberg wants to keep with the antiquated times and this is why.

    He would have kept on keeping otherwise. Talking out of both sides of your mouth isn’t gonna jibe anymore and you will get call out on it.

  3. Digital Unicorn says:

    Spielberg is no hero, he’s part of the problem. He may not have assaulted anyone himself (not that i have heard) but his ‘privileged white man who turns a blind eye until it hurts his bottom line’ attitude is why men like Weinstein and Weatherly get away with it.

    Weatherly has long behaved like this and got away with it, I remember the rumours back when he did Dark Angel. There were also rumours that he did not treat Jessica Alba well when they were together.

  4. xdanix says:

    I’m glad someone FINALLY did SOMETHING. But it’s not enough. It’s not nearly enough. They’re going to get so much praise for this, but if they really cared they should have done something much sooner. It’s ages since the story broke and even longer since all of this actually went down behind the scenes. And one of Eliza’s conditions was that she got to meet with Spielberg. I’ve read he’s kept on refusing to do that. Not to mention, Weatherly himself (and his terrible show) is doing just fine- Bull just got another season ordered.

    It’s all just disgusting to me. I can’t muster up much enthusiasm for this when it’s the very definition of “too little too late” and yet at the same time I’m stupidly glad, because it’s the only thing anyone’s really done to publicly indicate any disapproval at all about Weatherly and the disgraceful way Eliza was treated. And I hate- HATE- that I feel grateful for such… crumbs.

    • Steff says:

      Spot on. Especially your last paragraph. There were no real repercussions for Weatherly’s actions.

  5. Dtab says:

    I stopped watching the show as soon as I heard about the harassment of Eliza. It was a no-brainer for me, what a complete POS. Glad that Spielberg has stepped away also.

  6. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Here’s the thing: I get what you’re was saying about Amblin and Spielberg and I agree. BUT. It all depended on what the investment Amblin had in Bull. In all likelihood they did not own any rights to the show (considering they were able to pull out of the show tells me that they didnt) and because Weatherly was/is enployed by CBS directly means they probably didn’t have a whole lot of say in whether he stayed on the show. The only thing thu probably could do was pull out their investment in it. Which they did. And they probably had to wait until the show waa up for renewal- and contracts being renegotiated – in order to do so. Either way Im glad they have cut ties with the show. And if more large companies – specifically advertisers- do so maybe it will force CBS to rethink airing the show altogether.