The Activist will be "re-imagined" after criticism - and are we really surprised? 10 months ago

The Activist will be "re-imagined" after criticism - and are we really surprised?

After widespread backlash, producers of the proposed reality show The Activist have said that the programme, which pits activists and their causes against one another, will be "re-imagined".

The premise was unilaterally panned, with many labeling it as 'performative' and insensitive to the work of activists who have been persecuted for their campaigns.


In response to the criticism, Global Citizen, the organisation that co-produced the series for CBS, have said that they will remove the X-Factor style elimination element of the show.

They said: "Global activism centres on collaboration and cooperation, not competition. We apologise to the activists, hosts and the larger activist community – we got it wrong."

CBS, the channel that produces the show, also said in a statement that the show would be restructured. It will now run as a documentary rather than a competition show.


They said: "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 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). 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 organisation of their choice, as was planned for the original show."


While many were relieved to hear that the show would be changing direction, others were still puzzled over how the show was green-lit in the first place.

It could be argued that the show may shed important light on some issues, however, TV ratings are still at the heart of the show's premise.

Ultimately, adapting activism to churn ratings and profits for large media corporations isn't just ill-judged and condescending to activists, but it undermines any progress that could be made from the potential exposure.