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‘We got it wrong’: CBS reality competition “The Activist” to be reimagined as doc

CBS, Global Citizen and Live Nation have pulled the plug on reality competition format The Activist following backlash, with plans to retool the series as a documentary special. In a joint statement, ...
September 16, 2021

CBS, Global Citizen and Live Nation have pulled the plug on reality competition format The Activist following backlash, with plans to retool the series as a documentary special.

In a joint statement, the companies 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.”

Just last week, the U.S. broadcaster released details about the format, hosted by Usher (pictured, left), with Priyanka Chopra Jonas (center) and Julianne Hough (right) serving as co-hosts.

As per the original setup, activists would compete in missions, media stunts, digital campaigns and community events aimed at garnering the attention of global decision-makers and demanding action.

With their success measured via online engagement, social metrics and hosts’ input, the ultimate goal was to create impactful movements and advance to the G20 summit in Rome for an opportunity to meet with world leaders in the hopes of securing funding and awareness for their causes.

In the end, “The Activist” would be crowned in an event featuring a musical performance, activists and heads of state from across the globe.

The series was originally scheduled to premiere on Oct. 22. An air date is yet to be announced for the documentary special.

“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,” the joint statement continued.

An independent statement from Global Citizen reads: “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.”

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