CBS defended its decision to renew the drama series "Bull" after settling a sexual harassment claim against its star Michael Weatherly, saying the actor "owned" and apologized for his on-set behavior toward actress Eliza Dushku.
Dushku said she was written off the show after complaining that Weatherly remarked on her appearance and made jokes involving sex and rape in front of cast and crew in early 2017. Last year, the allegation and a $9.5 million confidential settlement reached with Dushku were made public in a report by The New York Times.
"We found out about it when you did," and looked at the matter with "fresh eyes" before making a decision on the show's future, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl told a news conference held Wednesday to introduce CBS' 2019-20 schedule, which includes "Bull."
"First and foremost, what we found was Michael made a mistake in his comments. He owned that mistake. He was apologetic at the time" and apologized again when it came out, Kahl said.
In renewing Weatherly's series, CBS considered the actor's long tenure at the network, including more than a decade on "NCIS," Kahl said. There were no complaints about Weatherly before or after Dushku's, he said.
"So, when we look at the totality of the situation, we felt comfortable bringing 'Bull' back on the air," he said. Asked about the decision by Amblin Entertainment to withdraw from its work on the series following its renewal, Kahl said he couldn't answer for them.
Meanwhile, the network said that its fall lineup will include a new sitcom from "Big Bang Theory" creator Chuck Lorre that stars Billy Gardell, who co-starred in "Mike & Molly."
Other stars joining CBS' 2019-20 schedule include Edie Falco in the police drama "Tommy," former "NCIS" star Pauley Perrette in the sitcom "Broke" and Patricia Heaton in the comedy "Carol's Second Act."
In the Lorre comedy, titled "Bob Hearts Abishola," Gardell plays a Detroit sock salesman who falls in love with his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant.
His co-star is Folake Olowofoyeku, a Nigerian-born actress who was in "Transparent."