CBS has put Bull into the canceled shows pasture. The legal drama is ending after six seasons, with star Michael Weatherly announcing he is leaving to "pursue new creative challenges." Twelve episodes remain in Bull season 6 and the series finale is expected to air in May.
Weatherly's exit comes after several years of controversy for himself and the show. In 2018, CBS paid actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 million to settle a sexual harassment claim. Dushku had a major recurring role in season 1 and appeared in three episodes. She alleged Weatherly made inappropriate sexual remarks, and when she confronted him, she was written off the show.
Last year, Bull showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron was fired following a workplace investigation. Former staff writers told The Hollywood Reporter that Caron "fostered a disrespectful work environment." Longtime cast member Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under) also departed after an investigation.
What's the real reason behind Weatherly's exit?
Despite those controversies, CBS seemed to stand by Bull. The network could've canceled Bull after Caron was fired, but chose to go ahead with season 6. On the face of it, it seems that CBS might have happily kept Bull on the air indefinitely — if it wasn't for Weatherly's exit.
"I’ve decided it’s time to pursue new creative challenges and bring his story to a close," Weatherly announced on Twitter. "It has been an honor to work with this talented cast, crew, and writing/producing team who helped reinvent the legal drama. Stay tuned for a big series finish. Thanks to all the fans from the bottom of my heart. You will always be a part of our Bull family!"
Weatherly has been a mainstay in the CBS lineup for almost two decades. Prior to Bull, he played Anthony DiNozzo on JAG and NCIS. It's understandable if he wants to do something else.
However, it's also very possible Weatherly read the writing on the wall in terms of the show's future. Bull is averaging 7.5 million viewers a week and a 0.6 in the critical adults 18-49 demo (both figures include Live+7 DVR playback). That puts it dead last among CBS' dramas.
The star might've decided to get out early, so it looked like he left on his own terms. Or CBS may have quietly hinted that Bull was close to being put down.
Bull was inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw when he was a jury consultant. Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull, a psychologist and trial science expert who uses his skills and those of his team not only to select the right jurors for his clients, but also to help his clients' lawyers decide which type of argument will win over jurors best.
But at least fans can console themselves by continuing to watch renewed TV shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Wheel of Time.