Why Bull's Creator Wanted Michael Weatherly For The Role

bull weatherly

There are a thousand actors that could have been at the head of CBS' new drama Bull that would have been great, but none would have brought the network synergy of former NCIS mainstay Michael Weatherly. And it sounds like showrunner Mark Goffman was well aware of all the positives that nabbing Weatherly would bring his new show. Here's how Goffman explained the choice to pursue the actor.

When Michael Weatherly announced he was leaving NCIS, we knew he was perfect for the role --- a unique combination of comedy, warmth, physicality and feral intelligence along with a bruising candor. Plus, my mom loves him.

While it seems like a no-brainer in hindsight, Mark Goffman probably had to do some quick thinking when putting together the decision to go after Michael Weatherly. After all, it came as a huge shock when the actor announced he would be leaving NCIS, especially when he revealed it was because he was tired of that gig and wanted to move on to something else. And Weatherly signed on for Bull really quickly following the news of his exit, so let's give Goffman some points for speedy dealing.

And if we're giving points away, let's go ahead and throw some to Goffman's mom. Almost every time someone refers to CBS and parents in the same sentence, it's making a joke about the network's programming. Here, it's a legitimate comment, and it's quite on the mark, considering everyone's mother loves Michael Weatherly.

For all the reasons that Goffman knew Weatherly was going to be perfect - and we're not going to be refuting any of them, although "feral intelligence" sounds a little wild - he probably wasn't aware that the actor didn't have a specific path he wanted to follow after NCIS. Thankfully, Weatherly got some good advice from a former co-star that led him to what we assume is the right decision.

Bull stars Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull, a prolific and highly respected trial consultant who builds up a team of expert analysts to figure out the many ways that human beings work within a courtroom, from the jury box to the witness stand. It's based in part on the life of Dr. Phil McGraw, who also serves as an executive producer, and I'd have to imagine that he was pretty big on getting Weatherly into the role. If you're going to have a say in picking who plays you on TV, you go for the gold.

If early reviews are to be believed - such as our own - Bull might have to work out some kinks in order to keep the attention of audiences in the fall season. Of course, most of the criticisms are aimed at the formulaic concept, while Michael Weatherly himself is getting the best of the buzz. So Goffman's mom was spot-on in her assessment.

Bull, which also stars Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr, Chris Jackson, Jaime Lee Kirchner and Annabelle Attanasio, premieres on CBS on Tuesday, September 20, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is making its debut, such as NCIS, check out our fall TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.