TSR Updatez: The people have spoken and “The Activist,” which was originally set to be a reality competition series, has been scrapped at CBS.
Within hours of the show being announced, CBS came under fire last week for its attempt of turning community activism into a competition show. In addition to people calling the producers of the show “tone deaf”, it didn’t help that Julianne Hough, one of three judges signed on to the show, had previously faced backlash for wearing “blackface” as part of a Halloween costume.
According to CNN, CBS along with production partners Global Citizen and Live Nation said, “The Activist was designed to show a wide audience the passion, long hours, and ingenuity that activists put into changing the world, hopefully inspiring others to do the same. However, it has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day.”
“The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort. As a result, we are changing the format to remove the competitive element and reimagining the concept into a primetime documentary special (air date to be announced),” the statement said.
The series had originally been set up for six activists from around the world to come together “to bring meaningful change to one of three urgent universal causes: health, education and the environment.”
“The activists will compete in missions, media stunts, digital campaigns and community events aimed at garnering the attention of the world’s most powerful decision-makers, demanding action now,” according to the show’s description.
Hough, Usher and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were initially set to judge the competition.
“Thank you for using your voices, calling me in, your accountability, and your candor,” wrote Hough in an Instagram post. “I am deeply listening with an open heart and mind.”
The new show “will showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in,” and “each activist will be awarded a cash grant for the organization of their choice, as was planned for the original show,” according to CBS’ statement.