CBS revamps ‘The Activist’ competition series after huge reviews, postpones release
CBS made the decision to reformat its upcoming series “The Activist” after receiving huge reviews for promoting performative activism and being deaf.
When announced about a week ago during CBS’s Television Critics Association summer press tour, the format of “The Activist” would see celebrity judges Usher, Julianne Hough and Priyanka Chopra Jonas chairing a contest in in which six activists representing three causes – health, education and the environment, would try to raise awareness of their cause as much as possible.
The first four episodes showed them doing this through various methods, including a social media campaign. The fifth and final episode would see three of six activists chosen to travel to the G20 summit in Rome, according to Variety.
However, the use of celebrities who are not activists as judges as well as social media and the competitive element of the show has caused many to question the network’s motivation and accuse CBS and its partner, Global Citizen, to use causes important for profit and the audience.
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As a result, the two companies and Live Nation announced in a joint statement Wednesday that the show will no longer be a series of competitions. Instead, it will be a one-off special documentary that will still focus on the same activists and causes, but things like the competition and rating process have been dropped.
“‘The Activist’ was designed to show a wide audience the passion, long hours and ingenuity activists put into changing the world, hopefully inspiring others to do the same,” the statement said. . “However, it has become evident that the format of the broadcast being advertised distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do every day in their communities. The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort. . “
The organizations add that each activist will receive a cash grant to the organization of their choice “as planned for the original show.”
The statement concludes: “Activists and community leaders around the world work every day, often without fanfare, to advance the protection of individuals, communities and our planet. We hope that by showcasing their work, we inspire more people to become more involved in tackling the world’s most pressing issues. We look forward to shining a light on the mission and life of each of these amazing people. “
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In its own statement, Global Citizen added, “Global activism is about collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologize to the activists, hosts and the wider activist community – we were wrong, ”the philanthropic organization said. “It is our responsibility to use this platform in the most effective way to effect change and uplift the incredible activists who dedicate their lives to progress all over the world.”
In order to reformat the show, Variety notes that “The Activist” will have to undergo multiple covers, almost starting production from scratch. As a result, the series has been moved from its premiere date of October 22 to news that is yet to be determined.
It’s also unclear if the famous judges will still be part of the project. The announcement came hours after Hough shared a lengthy statement on Instagram acknowledging the criticism she and the show were receiving.
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“The past few days have been a powerful display of activism in real time,” she began. “Thank you for using your voices, for calling me, for your responsibility and your candor. I listen deeply with an open heart and mind.”
She then addressed the criticism directly, stopping before announcing changes that were clearly already underway behind the scenes.
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“I heard you say there is hypocrisy in the show because at the root of activism is a struggle against capitalism and the trauma it causes to so many people and the show itself looked like a brilliant capitalist enterprise, ”she continued. “I have also heard you say that trying to value one cause over another is like the Olympics of oppression and has utterly disrespected and disrespected the many activists who have been killed, assaulted and faced various abuses while fighting. for their causes. “