'Wisdom Of The Crowd' Won't Return For Season 2 & It's A Testament To The Impact of #MeToo
Following its freshman season finale on Sunday, Wisdom of the Crowd won't return for Season 2. One year ago, that may not have meant as much; television shows are canceled all the time. But in the wake of Harvey Weinstein and all that he has come to signify, it represents a historic shift within entertainment — one that, without the dauntless, defiant furor of #MeToo, might have kept the series on-air.
Wisdom of the Crowd (executive producer: Rachel Kaplan) premiered on Oct. 1, 2017, mere days before the New York Times published the Weinstein report that spurred a domino effect takedown of powerful men in Hollywood. More than 80 women have now accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and though the embattled film producer denied all allegations of non-consensual sex via his spokesperson, his career has nonetheless unraveled. He was fired from his production company, stripped of his credits, and essentially ostracized by his peers. Last October, he became only the second person to be expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since its founding 90 years ago.
In the months following Weinstein's downfall, many other top-level men have been forced to confront similar allegations, and they too have faced varying degrees of consequence. Wisdom of the Crowd star Jeremy Piven is one of these such men. In early November, a series of women came forward to accuse the actor of sexual assault and harassment. Model Ariane Bellamar tweeted that Piven allegedly "forcefully fondled" her on the set of Entourage and at the Playboy Mansion; Longmire's Cassidy Freeman called him out via Instagram for his alleged "predatory behavior"; advertising executive Tiffany Bacon Scourby alleged he masturbated on top of her in a hotel room suite in 2003; and Anastasia Taneie claimed that he groped her on the set of Entourage in 2009 while she was working as an extra. According to these reports, Piven has denied all of the women's accounts. (Bustle reached out to Piven's reps for additional comment but did not hear back.)
Amid the reports, a CBS spokesperson told Deadline they were "looking into the matter," and within days, the network had announced Wisdom of the Crowd's cancellation. It should be noted that there were other factors at play: The series was critically derided, and its ratings were widely underwhelming. According to Variety, the fledgling procedural was averaging 7.4 million viewers per episode in late November — which may have been enough to save the show just barely, but presumably not with the added weight of Piven's controversy. (Bustle reached out to CBS for further comment, but has not yet heard back.)
This isn't the first time the #MeToo movement has affected a TV show. After accusations of unwanted sexual advances and alleged attempted rape surfaced against House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, Netflix cut ties with the actor and announced the mega-successful drama's sixth season would be its last. (Spacey apologized for his "drunken behavior" regarding the former incident, and through his rep denied the attempted rape allegation.)
Perhaps in the past, Wisdom of the Crowd would have been able to squeak quietly into a Season 2, but in a post-Weinstein era, the inevitable backlash was too damning.
The same couldn't necessarily be said 10 years ago, or five, or even one. Men like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen have been trailed by sexual assault allegations for decades, yet both have continued to lead thriving careers. (Polanski pled guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse" with a 13-year-old minor in 1979, and has not commented on allegations from four other women. Allen's adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was a child; Allen has denied her claims). Now, stars have begun to speak out against their alleged behavior, but it took an industry-wide reckoning to swing the pendulum.
It is against this backdrop that Wisdom of the Crowd's cancellation comes into sharper focus. It is not only a product of #MeToo, but a testament to its impact — one that, mere months ago, may have landed much more softly. And it shows that now, finally, women are receiving more than the space to speak, they are receiving the space to be fully, truly heard.