'The Activist' Shifting From Competitive Series to Documentary Special

Usher, Priyanka, Julianne
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The show received backlash for making activists compete against one another.

The Activist is changing its format after recent backlash.

After coming under fire for having activists compete against one another, the show is shifting from a competitive series to a documentary special. In a statement released on Wednesday, CBS, Global Citizen and Live Nation, which produce the project, noted the changes and highlighted the fault in the show structure.

"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. 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 statement begins. "The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort."

“As a result, we are changing the format to remove the competitive element and reimagining the concept into a primetime documentary special (air date to be announced)," the statement continues. "It will showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in. Each activist will be awarded a cash grant for the organization of their choice, as was planned for the original show."

"Activists and community leaders around the world work every day, often without fanfare, to advance protections for people, communities, and our planet. We hope that by showcasing their work we will inspire more people to become more involved in addressing the world’s most pressing issues," the joint statement concludes. "We look forward to highlighting the mission and lives of each of these incredible people."

Additionally, Global Citizen apologized and admitted that they "got it wrong."

"Global activism centers on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologize to the activists, hosts, and the larger activist community -- we got it wrong," their personal statement reads. "It is our responsibility to use this platform in the most effective way to realize change and elevate the incredible activists dedicating their lives to progress all around the world.”

Last week, Julianne Hough, Usher and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were announced as co-hosts of the CBS series, set to premiere Oct. 22. The show featured six activists competing to make a difference in either health, education or the environment.

On Tuesday, Hough addressed fans' concerns about the show and responded to backlash over her position as co-host following her 2013 blackface controversy. 

"I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark and furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge," she shared. "On top of this, many people are just becoming aware that I wore blackface in 2013, which only further added insult to injury." 

Hough said that "wearing blackface was a poor choice based on my own white privilege and white body bias that hurt people and is something that I regret doing to this day."

The actress, who wore blackface while dressing as Uzo Aduba's Orange Is the New Black character for Halloween in 2013, said she has been committed "to reflect and act differently." "Not perfectly, but hopefully with a more developed understanding that racism and white supremacy is harmful to ALL people," she shared.