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 million 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.”
The Bull controversy erupted in December when it was revealed that former cast member Dushku had reached a $9.5 million settlement with CBS — then overseen by Les Moonves — over claims she was sexually harassed by Weatherly during her time on the show. Dushku detailed her allegations in a stinging Boston Globe op-ed, including what she described as the toxic atmosphere on the CBS procedural and lewd comments that Weatherly allegedly made toward her that led her to filing a formal complaint. She was let go from the show shortly thereafter.
Weatherly denied having been part of Dushku’s firing, but admitted that he engaged in behavior that was “both not funny and not appropriate,” saying he was “sorry” and that he regretted the pain he had caused the actress.
Amblin Television is not in the deficit financing business, with its executives largely working for producing fees, so the exit from Bull is significant. Still, as any production company, Amblin also is believed to have a piece of the series’ valuable backend.
Created by Dr. Phil McGraw and Paul Attanasio, Bull stars Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull in a drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick.
Bull is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Stage 29 Productions. Glenn Gordon Caron, Paul Attanasio, Dr. Phil McGraw and Jay McGraw are the executive producers.
Glenn Gordon Caron, who served as showrunner this season, is in talks to return.
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