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CBS Entertainment chief on 'Bull' renewal: Michael Weatherly 'realized he made a mistake'

CBS Entertainment chief on 'Bull' renewal: Michael Weatherly 'realized he made a mistake'
Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull, background left, and Chris Jackson as Chunk Palmer, right, in a scene from, "Bull," premiering on Sept. 20. (David M. Russell/AP)

CBS considered "the totality of the situation" and remorse expressed by actor Michael Weatherly in making the decision to renewal drama series "Bull" for a fourth season.

Weatherly was accused by fellow "Bull" actor Eliza Dushku of sexual harassment during her brief time on the series in its second season. CBS ultimately paid Dushku a settlement of $9.5 million, after she was let go for what Dushku said was retaliation after she complained about Weatherly's behavior.

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CBS considered Weatherly's long run at the network -- he was previously a star of drama "NCIS" -- and the lack of previous sexual harassment complaints in considering the fate of "Bull" as network brass set the 2019-20 primetime lineup. "Bull" production company Amblin Entertainment has severed its ties to the show in the wake of the Weatherly scandal. Amblin founder Steven Spielberg has been active in the Time's Up movement to combat harassment in the workplace.

Kelly Kahl, CBS Entertainment president, said Weatherly's apology and remorse were a factor in the final analysis. Kahl also stressed that few at CBS were aware of Dushku's accusations and settlement until it became public in December when Dushku wrote a scathing op-ed about the incidents for the Boston Globe.

"Michael made a mistake in his comments (to Dushku). He owned that mistake. He was apologetic at the time, and he was remorseful," Kahl said. "He was willing to take any kind of coaching or training we deem necessary for him to create a positive environment on the set," something that has taken place, Kahl said.

"When we looked at the totality of the situation, we felt comfortable bringing 'Bull' back on the air," Kahl said.

Kahl stressed that he was confident that Weatherly "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."

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