Entertainment Television

Weatherly ready to ride the Bull

By Nelson Branco, 24 Hrs

Michael Weatherly hopes to gain more fans for his hit jury procedural, Bull. CBS

Michael Weatherly hopes to gain more fans for his hit jury procedural, Bull. CBS

Jury selection is a hot topic these days.

Just ask any of the grieving families of dead black and minority men after a myriad of white U.S. police officers were found innocent of murder charges -- despite video proof suggesting otherwise.

Jury management is an art form (even on reality TV shows!) – which is why CBS’s trial consultant drama resonated with audiences when it premiered last season.

In fact, Bull -- which is loosely based on the real-life consultancy of talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw -- beat beloved timeslot rival and critical darling This Is Us on average in the ratings last year. (Bull also registers in the Top Ten shows in Canada each week.)

Now back for its sophomore offering, Michael Weatherly -- who stars as hunky but sly Dr. Jason Bull --promises season two will be more character driven, with a focus on the people behind Trial Analysis Corporation.

And that’s mainly due to new showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron, who teases Bull is just sharpening his horns. (Caron is a vet who helmed such hits as Medium and Moonlighting.)

“We’re not making Jason necessarily more vulnerable as we are making him more of a complete character,” promises Caron to 24 Hours. “The first season concentrated on the trial science so the audience was comfortable with the format. Now, we can stop and find out: who are Jason Bull and his coworkers?”

So far, the duo hasn’t received any negative criticism from the legal community.

Weatherly answers, “My wife is a doctor in real life and she finds a lot wrong on medical shows that don’t even occur to me so I can happily report that people aren’t hung up on a suspension of disbelief when it comes to Bull. We shoot at The New York State Supreme Court Building and mainly we hear: ‘It’s about time there’s show about juries!’ We’re lucky to have Jason -- this strange entrepreneur -- at the centre of the show so it’s less about law and more about psychology.”

Speaking of shrinking, Weatherly took a Machiavellian Test, “which we featured on a recent show, and I scored a 77 per cent, which is every high, by the way! That’s the great thing about Bull – it allows the viewer to explore their own relationship with truth. When is the right time to lie? Is it ever right to lie? It’s definitely never right to lie in court!”

For now, Weatherly hopes he’s finally being accepted by his loyal fan base in his new role because some of the NCIS audience wasn’t happy when he left his super popular role as Anthony DiNozzo. Has Weatherly noticed an acceptance now with his fans?

He sets up, “Construction worker no. 1 says, ‘I don’t know about Bull yet.’ Old Lady B would say, ‘You were very funny on NCIS; why aren’t you funnier on Bull?’ Then Man C says, ‘I didn’t like you on NCIS but I like you on Bull.’ So that’s what I get but I’m looking forward to the reaction this season which I hope is now their favourite show!”

We’re sure there won’t be a hung jury in this case.

Bull airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS and Global.