CBS is all set to air its latest five-week reality show: an activism competition series called The Activist. Moreover, the show has roped in Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough as the three hosts who will each be joining a team of six activists assigned the task to promote issues of health, education, or the environment. They will be judged based on certain parameters like online engagement, social metrics and inputs from the hosts.
CBS executive vice-president Jack Sussman called The Activist “a groundbreaking series poised to inspire viewers” in a statement, which will be aired on October 22 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
The show, in its news release, describes itself as one that “will inspire real change”. However, it has received enough flak for profiting off the efforts of activists by making it consumable for mainstream audiences.
“While Gen-Z and many 21st Century activists and grassroots organizations leverage the power of social media to make their movements known … social media does not, cannot and should not determine the success of any issue, or any human being at all,” activist Sofia Ongele told NBC News on Friday. She further claimed she was approached for a show with a similar premise. She turned it down because according to her, “activism is neither a game nor a competition”.
But Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, said in Thursday’s announcement that the show’s vision is to “spread awareness about society’s most urgent issues while also giving every viewer the opportunity to be part of the solution.”
Hugh Evans, CEO and co-founder of Global Citizen had something similar to say.
“The audience will see the Activists’ passion and commitment for their causes tested as they petition world leaders to take urgent action to resolve the interconnected crises we face,” he said in the news release.