CBS’ Hellish Show ‘The Activist’ Is Getting Flipped Into a Docuseries

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
Black Lives Matter Protestor
Photo Credit: Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto for Getty Images

CBS’ The Activist was previously announced as a five-week competition show that would focus on activists battling against one another.

After receiving immense pushback and criticism CBS’ reality series The Activist is being repurposed into a docuseries. 

Originally set to air on October 22, the five-week competition show will get recieve live date per The Hollywood Reporter. In a joint statement, Live Nation and Global Citizen producers have shared details about the pivot. 

“[I]t 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,” CBS, Live Nation and Global Citizen shared in a statement.

Previously the show was set to feature six activists who would be in competition against one another to support causes of their choosing. They were tasked with drawing social media attention to these causes and would be judged by the show’s hosts Usher, Juliane Hough, and Priyanka Chopra. 

After the backlash, Hough posted a statement agreeing with those who criticized the premise of the show. She wrote, “there is a feeling of insult, dehumanization, insensitivity and hurt that is being rightfully felt.” She added that she didn’t feel qualified to judge. 

Global Citizen separately released their own statement:

 “Global activism centers on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologize to the activists, hosts, and the larger activist community — we got it wrong. It is our responsibility to use this platform in the most effective way to realize change and elevate the incredible activists dedicating their lives to progress all around the world.”

If you’re wondering what the original idea behind the show actually was, the joint statement from CBS, Global Citizen, and Live Nation attempt to highlight that (it’s still weird). Read the full statement below.

“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). It will showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in. Each activist will be awarded a cash grant for the organization of their choice, as was planned for the original show.

Activists and community leaders around the world work every day, often without fanfare, to advance protections for people, communities, and our planet. We hope that by showcasing their work we will inspire more people to become more involved in addressing the world’s most pressing issues. We look forward to highlighting the mission and lives of each of these incredible people.”

 

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