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Why Michael Weatherly Is Leaving CBS' Bull After Six Seasons

Michael Weatherly has been a mainstay on CBS for over a decade thanks first to a long stint on NCIS followed by starring in Bull as his own series, but now his time on his second hit CBS show is coming to an end. The actor shockingly announced that he's leaving Bull after six seasons, but not without giving an explanation for why. And that's not all the news on the Bull front. 

Just days before a new episode of his drama is set to air, Michael Weatherly took to Twitter to announce his upcoming Bull departure and explain why he made the surprising decision: 

Hello all! It’s been my privilege to play Dr Jason Bull but after 6 Seasons of incredible storylines, I’ve decided it’s time to pursue new creative challenges and bring his story to a close. It has been an honor to work with this talented cast, crew, and writing/producing team who helped reinvent the legal drama. Stay tuned for a big series finish…Thanks to all the fans from the bottom of my heart. You will always be a part of our Bull family!

According to Michael Weatherly's message to fans, he decided to leave because he's ready for "new creative challenges" and will therefore bring Jason Bull's story "to a close." Following Weatherly's post, CBS released a statement (via Deadline) to confirm that Bull is ending after six seasons. The network did not clarify whether the show was ending because of Michael Weatherly's decision or not, but his comments do suggest that he made the proactive decision to move on from Bull

The show ending with Weatherly wanting to move on would make sense. As the titular Jason Bull who is central to the stories, it's difficult to imagine the series continuing without him, even though Bull has dealt with and recovered from some key departures over the years. Certainly nothing so huge as Michael Weatherly as Jason Bull!

Considering that the second half of the 2021-2022 TV season has only just begun (with Bull's midseason premiere airing on January 6), there should be plenty of time for the show to wrap itself up and come to a natural conclusion, which hasn't always been the case for CBS shows that are ending. There are more questions than answers at this point.

The news of his departure coming not too long after Mark Harmon's departure from NCIS is sure to get fans of that long-running show hoping that DiNozzo will make a return, although that might not qualify as one of the "new creative challenges" he wants to pursue, and would raise questions about Ziva over on NCIS. And Weatherly actually generated a fair amount of controversy for CBS after leaving NCIS and starring in Bull

Back in 2019, Bull guest actress Eliza Dushku was paid a $9.5 million settlement after alleging that Weatherly's behavior on set – including comments and jokes about her – made her feel uncomfortable. The decision to renew Bull for Season 4 despite the allegations against the star came down to, according to CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl, its status as "a very popular show" and viewers continuing to tune in "even after these allegations came out." Weatherly did reportedly apologize at the time. Bull therefore not only returned for Season 4, but has scored renewals all the way through to Season 6.  

For now, new episodes of Bull are scheduled to continue airing in their time slot of Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. The show hasn't been quite as much of a ratings hit as in earlier seasons, although it performs much better in delayed totals compared to the initial numbers for viewers who watched live. Tune in to see how CBS winds down the series, and check out our 2022 winter and spring premiere schedule for your other TV options moving forward.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.