CBS’s ‘Bull’: Fall’s only sure bet to be a hit
The program stars Michael Weatherly, a viewer favorite from 'NCIS'
July 5, 2016
One in a series of Media Life previews of the new shows debuting this fall. You can find past previews here.
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Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly), a character loosely based on the young Dr. Phil McGraw, runs a trial consulting firm that can help defendants pick the right juries and use the craftiest tactics to win their case, whether they’re guilty or not.
Bull’s team is much smarter than the highly paid lawyers in the high-profile cases they take on.
But of course not everyone looks kindly on Bull’s brash methods, despite his considerable success and charisma.
McGraw and son Jay are among the executive producers of the show.
This is the one show everyone agrees will be a hit this fall.
It’s an unstoppable combination for CBS that fits the network’s brand. It’s a procedural, it stars Weatherly, a hugely popular former “NCIS” star, and it airs right behind “NCIS,” the most-watched drama on broadcast.
The show looks to be close in tone to “NCIS,” with crime and mystery spliced in with a few light moments. It’s the sort of drama CBS viewers will lap right up.
And it should do fairly well among adults 18-49 as well. The show will undoubtedly win the hour in 25-54s, CBS’s target demo, and total viewers.
With 18-49s, its only serious competition will be NBC’s new “This Is Us,” and that program is a bit riskier, with multiple viewpoints and storylines.
“Bull” should be a sure bet for a full-season pickup, and it’s likely to survive to a second season as well.
What media people say
Buyers see “Bull” as a perfectly on-brand program that will have a long life on CBS.
They note that Weatherly received a huge amount of goodwill from viewers on his final season of “NCIS,” and think many of them will follow the actor to his new show.
“‘Bull’ will be a hit,” says one buyer. “It fits well with its lead-in. It’s an example of CBS bringing on a new show that plays to its strengths.”
What our readers say
They like “Bull’s” chances. In a Media Life poll asking readers to weigh in on the fall season, they voted “Bull” CBS’s most promising new show of the fall, out of six programs.
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