CBS Drops ‘Bull’ Showrunner Following Workplace Investigation – Hollywood Reporter
Following a workplace investigation on the CBS drama Bull, showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron has exited the show and his overall deal with CBS Studios has ended, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
The show’s writing staff underwent multiple departures after production wrapped for season five, which aired its finale on May 17. CBS Studios, sources say, launched an investigation regarding those writers’ exits. CBS declined to address questions about the reasons for Caron’s departure, but confirmed that Caron is no longer with Bull. The series, starring Michael Weatherly as jury consultant Dr. Jason Bull, was renewed for a sixth season in April.
The Moonlighting and Medium veteran first began working on Bull near the end of the first season of the show, and the writer/producer then came on board as the drama’s showrunner at the start of its second season in 2017.
Additionally, co-star Freddy Rodriguez, who played Benjamin “Benny” Colón on Bull for more than 100 episodes, is also exiting the show after a workplace investigation. CBS declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Rodriguez’s departure, but confirmed he will no longer be on the show. A rep for the actor declined to comment.
Five past and present Bull writers who spoke with THR, but declined to be named for fear of professional repercussions, say Caron fostered a disrespectful work environment during his four-year tenure. These sources allege that he expressed opinions they perceived as callous and that it was common for him to berate the writing staff. “Everyone was so on edge — it felt like everyone constantly had, at the very least, a lot of anxiety,” a former Bull writer says. Multiple Bull writers were interviewed as part of the CBS investigation, sources say. Through a representative, Caron declined to comment.
As part of the changes, CBS is naming Bull writers Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard as co-showrunners. “I really hope they get a fair shot to succeed,” says a former Bull writer.
Writers who worked for Caron on Bull and another series he ran, supernatural drama Medium — which aired on NBC and CBS from 2005 to 2011 — recount that lessons acquired about craft were ultimately outweighed by the showrunner’s demeanor.
“I learned a lot about storytelling and about writing fast — that was valuable,” says producer of Melinda Hsu Taylor, a veteran of Medium. “But it was a toxic environment while I was there. And now that I have much more experience and I have been a showrunner myself, I can tell you, there are a lot of different ways to tell a writer that what they’re submitting didn’t work for you without attacking them in a cruel way. It is entirely possible to do this job with humanity and warmth and to treat people with respect, whether or not a pitch is working for you.” Another Medium writer, Moira Kirland, adds that Caron was the source of “many invaluable lessons about television writing,” but noted “there was a lot of yelling, a lot of pressure.”
Caron’s first big show, Moonlighting, which aired on ABC from 1985 to 1989, was a legendarily tumultuous production. Caron, who created the show, departed before its groundbreaking, Emmy-winning run was over, amidst coverage of the creator’s conflicts with the network and press accounts of turmoil among Caron and the show’s stars, Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. “Frankly, I wasn’t a day at the beach,” Caron recalled in a 2019 article about the show. “It was very frustrating for ABC.”
On CBS’ Bull, sources say the show’s culture did not improve after it was revealed, in a Dec. 2018 New York Times story, that the actor and producer Eliza Dushku had received a settlement of $9.5 million in the wake of alleged harassment by Weatherly on the set of Bull. The newspaper reported that after Dushku confronted Weatherly about his alleged treatment of her, Dushku’s time on the show was cut short and that plans to potentially extend her character’s run on Bull suddenly evaporated. In an op-ed that Dushku wrote shortly after the Bull settlement came to light, she claimed that “Caron wrote me off the show within 48 hours of my complaints about Weatherly.” (Caron, through a representative, strongly denies that Dushku’s claim against Weatherly played a role in her departure.)
The show underwent further tumult when, in May 2019, producer Amblin Entertainment announced it had parted ways with Bull in the wake of the Dushku story. Months later, in August, CBS entertainment president Kelly Kahl was asked at a press event about the network’s handling of the Dushku situation at Bull. He said that both Weatherly and Caron received leadership coaching. Kahl added at the time: “More than 10 million people watch every week. Michael is loved by our audience and even after these allegations came out, people continue to watch. So it’s a popular show that we want to keep on our air.”