The Real Reason CBS Canceled Fan-Favorite Series ‘Bull’

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TV star Michael Weatherly rose to fame after playing special agent Anthony DiNozzo in NCIS, the CBS crime procedural that started out as a JAG spinoff. Since it started airing its episodes back in 2003, however, NCIS has come into its own, even becoming one of CBS’ most-watched programs.

It also seems that the show led CBS to realize that it has another leading man in Weatherly (Mark Harmon had been the de facto lead of the show up until his decision to exit). And so, the network launched Bull in 2016.
Executive produced by television personality Phil McGraw, Bull centers on Weatherly’s Dr. Jason Bull, a character that is based on McGraw himself. On the show, Bull runs a trial consulting firm (McGraw did similar work early on in his career) that helps clients do better in court.

Throughout its run, Bull has performed fairly well. However, in January, CBS announced that the show would end after its sixth season. Since then, fans have wondered why it all ended rather abruptly.
‘Bull’ Has Been Caught In Controversy In The Past

There had been high hopes for the show when it aired its first season. After all, Weatherly’s star power was quite proven by then. Little did the network know, however, that its latest lead would eventually become the subject of sexual allegations from one of its high-profile guest stars.

Veteran actress Eliza Dushku appeared on Bull towards the end of its first season. On the show, she was cast to play J.P. Nunnelly, the head of New York’s top cr*****l defense firm. The character was also written out to be a love interest for Weatherly’s Bull.

And although it seemed like sparks were flying onscreen, the relationship between Weatherly and Dushku behind the scenes was becoming more and more fractured as time went on. And while there were supposed plans for the actress to eventually become a regular cast member, a decision was made to write off Dushku’s character instead following the actress’ claims of sexual harassment against Weatherly.

According to the actress, Weather claimed she had a “humor deficit.”
Since then, Dushku entered into a reported $9.5 million settlement with CBS. It was reportedly the equivalent of what the actress would have earned as a regular cast member on the show for four seasons. The settlement also came with an NDA but Dushku decided to share her side of the story, nonetheless.

“Weatherly harassed me from early on,” the actress wrote in an op-ed for The Boston Globe. “For weeks, Weatherly was recorded making sexual comments, and was recorded mimicking penis jousting with a male costar — this directly on the heels of the ‘threesome’ proposal — and another time referring to me repeatedly as ‘legs.’”

The actress also wrote that Weatherly “bragged” about his friendship with then-CBS chief executive Les Moonves. While Weatherly remained on the show following Dushku’s allegations, Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin Entertainment was one of the producers on the show, exited.

Soon after, Moonves himself also found himself at the center of sexual allegations and was forced to step down from CBS. Meanwhile, CBS also decided to fire the show’s second showrunner, Glenn Gordon Caron, following an internal investigation. It was also announced that one of Bull’s original stars, Freddy Rodriguez, had exited the show.
Here’s Why CBS Canceled ‘Bull’

Amidst the scandals that plagued Bull, it seems that the show was all set to do another season until Weatherly himself decided not to. In January, the actor took to Twitter to confirm that the show is ending its run.

“It’s been my privilege to play Dr Jason Bull but after 6 Seasons of incredible storylines, I’ve decided it’s time to pursue new creative challenges and bring his story to a close,” Weatherly wrote. “It has been an honor to work with this talented cast, crew, and writing/producing team who helped reinvent the legal drama.”
Soon after, CBS confirmed that the show was coming to an end. “For six seasons, Bull has established itself as a ratings winner with its fresh take on the judicial process never before seen on television,” the network said in a statement.

“We extend our thanks to the talented cast, Michael Weatherly, Geneva Carr, Yara Martinez, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Christopher Jackson, MacKenzie Meehan, the incredible creative team led by Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard, and our hard working [sic] crew, for bringing to life these innovative stories.”

Meanwhile, Weatherly may have indicated that fans have not seen the last of him yet although at the moment, no future projects have been announced so far. At the same time, fans wonder if the actor will now be available to make an appearance on NCIS. Some had always hoped to see a continuation of Tony and Ziva’s (Cote de Pablo) storyline (fans have always shipped the two characters and it was eventually revealed that they had a child).

Back in 2018, Weatherly even tweeted, “I will always be ready to play DiNozzo when the time is right.” That said, it is unclear if the show itself can accommodate Tony and Ziva in their future episodes.

In 2020, the show’s co-showrunner, Steven D. Binder, explained that they have “played, for now, all of the cards there are to play [with Ziva], so we have no plans at the moment.” However, Binder added, “But we’re certainly always open to it.”

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