After receiving widespread backlash, American network CBS has announced to change the format of the show The Activist, from competition series to a one-time documentary. Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas, American singer-songwriter Usher, and Dancing with the Stars star Julianne Hough were cast as judges in the reality show, which was announced last week and set for premiere on October 22.
The series pitted activists against each other before a panel of celebrity judges. Their success would have been judged on the basis of their social media campaigns. Produced by CBS and Global Citizen, the show received instant backlash on social media upon the unveil. Many people labelled the series as insensitive and tone-deaf. Some even called the show’s concept a “dystopian” celebration of “Insta-activism.”
CBS and producing partners Global Citizen and Live Nation In a statement on Wednesday said that the show 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 but will now be retooling ‘The Activist’ as a one-time documentary special instead of a five-episode competition series.
The three organizations said that competitive elements have been removed and a new release date will be announced in the coming days. Each activist will be awarded a cash grant for the organization of their choice, as was planned for the original show. They added that they hope that by showcasing their work they will inspire more people to become more involved in addressing the world’s most pressing issues and look forward to highlighting the mission and lives of each of these incredible people.
However, according to Variety, the footage for the original incarnation of the series had already been shot. However, in light of the changes, filming is expected to begin from scratch. Global Citizen also released a statement and apologized for getting the show’s format “wrong” adding that Global activism centers on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. Therefore they apologize to the activists, hosts, and the larger activist community.
They also said that it is their responsibility to use the platform in the most effective way to realize change and elevate the incredible activists dedicating their lives to progress all around the world.
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