What is The Activist on CBS and why is it trending?

ACTIVISM is known as the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

When CBS first announced using the concept as a show, its premise was a reality TV competition but following days of backlash, they have since changed it in hopes to satisfy potential viewers who have voiced their concerns.


The Activist is a new reality TV show on CBS that has sparked backlashCredit: CBS

What is The Activist on CBS?

The Activist was announced just a few days ago and had already sparked backlash from the activism community.

The Activist’s new concept will be a documentary special instead of a competition format.

On Wednesday, September 16, 2021, Global Citizen and CBS released a joint statement announcing the change.

“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,” the statement read.

“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.”

The show will now “showcase” the work of the six activists and focus on the impact that they have had advocating for the causes they believe in.

“Activists and community leaders around the world work every day, often without fanfare, to advance protections for people, communities, and our planet,” the statement continues.

“We hope that by showcasing their work we will inspire more people to become more involved in addressing the world’s most pressing issues. We look forward to highlighting the mission and lives of each of these incredible people.”

Julianne Hough, Usher and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were all scheduled to be the judges on the competition show, it is still unknown what roll they will play heading into this format change.

Why was The Activist trending?

The show started trending after potential viewers were outraged with the show’s original premise.

Previously, the show had planned to have six activists from around the world compete to “bring meaningful change to one of three urgent universal causes: health, education and the environment.”

At the end, the judges were supposed to judge their success based on the activists social media engagement through digital campaigns.  

Many people, including celebrities, took to Twitter to talk about their feelings and had called the show the “worst idea ever.”

Actress Jameela Jamil was one of the first to voice her concerns saying, “Couldn’t they just give the money it’s going to take to pay this UNBELIEVABLY expensive talent and make this show, directly to activist causes? Rather than turning activism into a game and then giving a fraction of the much needed money away in a ‘prize…?’ People are dying.”

Another user added: “1. Why the hell are they judging this 2. Why the hell is there a TV show that turns activist into a competition when the whole *essense* of activism is solidarity and community. This is the absolute worst.”

While another continued and called the show horrific: “This is truly horrific, lol. A reality competition show on who can be the next Insta-activist? It’s performative at best, and kinda makes light of the hard work a lot of grassroots [organizations] do on the ground, on a daily basis. Gross.”

The series is set to premier on October 22, 2021 at 8pm EST on CBS but it is unknown if that will change following the network’s announcement.

Julianna Hough is set to be one of the judges alongside Usher and Priyanka Chopra Jonas


Julianna Hough is set to be one of the judges alongside Usher and Priyanka Chopra JonasCredit: Getty Images – Getty

What did Julianna Hough say about the show?

As outrage continued to pour in, Hough was one of the first to address the concerns in an Instagram post.

“The last few days have been a powerful demonstration of real-time activism,” Hough wrote on September 14. “Thank you for using your voiced, calling me in, your accountability, and your candor. I am deeply listening with an open heart and mind.”

CBS and Global Citizens’ statement came just days after Hough posted her statement on social media, it is unknown if this had an impact but in her statement she later continued saying that she had spoken to the “powers that be,” and believes that they “have listened,” to the concerns.

The actress continued: “I heard you say there was hypocrisy in the show because at the root of activism is a fight against capitalism and the trauma that it causes so many people and that the show itself felt like a shiny capitalistic endeavor. I also heard you say that trying to value one cause over another felt like the Oppression Olympics and totally missed and disrespected the many activists who have been killed, assaulted and faced various abuses fighting for their causes.”

“…I’m going to continue to listen, unlearn, learn and take the time to be fully present with everything that you have all shared because I don’t want to just react. I want to digest, understand and respond in a way that is authentic and aligned with the woman I am becoming.”

While Hough and the network has addressed the backlash, Jonas and Usher have not commented on the situation.

Many are concerned for the new reality show The Activist on CBS

We pay for your stories!

Do you have a story for The US Sun team?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here