While many are eagerly awaiting the Season 2 debut of CBS’s summer series, Zoo, Bob Barker is not a fan. The former Price is Right game show host is making waves with his past employer of 35 years.
“As former host of the longest-running show on CBS, I am writing to you after hearing from my friends at PETA that your network continues to allow wild animals to be used on Zoo, despite learning that, when used for entertainment, big cats and other animals are torn away from their mothers, subjected to abusive training methods”
Barker wrote in a later addressed to David Stapf, the president of CBS. The Vancouver Sun says that Barker asked him to “adopt a network-wide policy banning the use of wild animals in future CBS programming.”
Based on James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge’s 2012 novel of the same name, Zoo was a 13-week hit for CBS last summer, and the network will debut the first episode of Season 2 on Tuesday, June 28. The series centers on a small group of individuals investigating recent violent animal attacks and struggle on how to get the world to listen to them so that they can stop the madness. The series was the most watched scripted summer series of 2015.
— ET Canada (@ETCanada) June 24, 2016
The second season of Zoo is currently filming in Vancouver, Canada, and in addition to using CGI effects, it employs real trained bears and lions, something that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) isn’t too keen about. The organization has released their own statement to CBS ahead of Bob Barker, demanding that the network use only CGI effects instead of live animals.
“If The Jungle Book can create entire realistic animal kingdoms with CGI, then CBS can clearly make its show without exploiting any live animals,” PETA Senior VP Lisa Lange said Tuesday in a statement.
In a related story for The Hollywood Reporter, Lange explained that horses are frequently injured or even die on set, “as these easily frightened prey animals are often placed in stressful and dangerous situations … The future of Hollywood lies in projects like My Little Pony: The Movie, and we applaud [director] Jayson Thiessen for bringing this magical film to life in a humane way.”
PETA criticized CBS for using animal trainer Steve Martin for Zoo’s second season. PETA states that Martin uses chimpanzees, which is a violation of the U.S. Animal Welfare Act, and also claimed that Zoo’s production team dropped animal trainer Michael Hackenberger after the group accused him of whipping a tiger while being film on camera. Zoo wraps up its production on July 7.
Meanwhile, it is apparent that the show must go on. Zoo adds to CBS’s two new summer series that have already started: the political-themed sci-fi comedy BrainDead from Robert and Michelle King, and the murder mystery, American Gothic.
“Zoo’s thrilling stories clicked with audiences each week during a very competitive summer,” said Glenn Geller, President, CBS Entertainment. “We’re excited for viewers to see where our talented writers and cast take them as the adventure continues to unfold during season two in the ultimate fight of man vs. beast.”
Zoo stars James Wolk (an American zoologist), Nora Arnezeder (a French investigator), Nonso Anozie (a Botswanan safari guide), Kristen Connolly (an American journalist) and Billy Burke (an animal veterinarian). Season 2 adds Josh Salatin to the cast playing a “mysterious stranger who might be holding a dangerous secret” (reports Deadline) and Alyssa Diaz who is “part of a military unit that encounters a strange and troubling new development in the animal mutation.”
Zoo airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS starting June 28.
[Photo courtesy of CBS]