“Does the winner get a blue vest?” asked veteran artist and tour manager Dennis De Groot on Twitter, in response to a Thursday announcement that “international education and advocacy organization” Global Citizen would soon be launching its own competition series on CBS, The Activist. Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Dancing With the Stars vet Julianne Hough are all on board to co-host the the five-week reality series, which will premiere on Friday, Oct. 22, at at 8 p.m. on CBS, simultaneously available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.
The Activist is a competition series that features six inspiring activists teamed with three high-profile public figures working together to bring meaningful change to one of three vitally important world causes: health, education, and environment.
Activists go head-to-head in challenges to promote their causes, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input. The three teams have one ultimate goal: to create impactful movements that amplify their message, drive action, and advance them to the G20 Summit in Rome, Italy. There, they will meet with world leaders in the hope of securing funding and awareness for their causes. The team that receives the largest commitment is celebrated as the overall winner at the finale, which will also feature musical performances by some of the world’s most passionate artists.
So...The Amazing Race, but with activists? Or, as the writer and Twitter aficionado @WrittenbyHanna quipped: “Not America’s Top Activist,” launching a hilarious thread that speculated on the show’s challenges, also noting that not casting Tyra was a missed opportunity. We highly recommend a read—also, CBS, this is the brilliant mind you really need in the writers’ room.
All jokes aside, Hugh Evans, CEO and co-founder of Global Citizen maintains: “The Activist is a first-of-its-kind competition series that will inspire real change, as the series progresses from the United States to Rome for the Activists’ final challenge at the G20,” as he said in a statement to Deadline. “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.”
CBS and Deviant Media are producing alongside Global Citizen; of the upcoming series, Jack Sussman, EVP Specials, Music, Live Events and Alternative Programming at CBS added: “Combining philanthropy and entertainment, The Activist is a ground-breaking series poised to inspire viewers,” We’re thrilled to have Usher, Priyanka, and Julianne as part of the series, guiding our CBS audience through the journeys of passionate changemakers from around the world.”
But wait—there’s more! Global Citizen also announced its lineup for its upcoming Global Citizen Live concert in Los Angeles, taking place at the legendary Greek Theatre on Sept 25, and in London at “a yet-to-be-disclosed ‘spectacular location,’” Variety reports.
Stevie Wonder will headline the L.A. event, joined by H.E.R., Demi Lovato, Adam Lambert, Chloe x Halle, OneRepublic, the Lumineers, Ozuna and 5 Seconds of Summer. Duran Duran will be the headliners for the London event, with Nile Rodgers & Chic, Kylie Minogue, Maneskin, and Rag’n’Bone Man are all also on the bill.
As we reported in August, the lineups for Global Citizen’s other annual concerts in cities across six continents—including New York, Paris, Lagos, Nigeria, and more—have already been announced. Variety gives further details, noting that New York’s lineup will include Billie Eilish, Jennifer Lopez, Coldplay, Lizzo, Meek Mill, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Cyndi Lauper, Lang Lang, Burna Boy and Alessia Cara. Paris will host Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Doja Cat, DJ Snake, Black Eyed Peas, Christine and the Queens, Stormzy, Angélique Kidjo, Charlie Puth and Fatma Said.
In Lagos, Femi Kuti will take the stage, as will Tiwa Savage, Davido and Made Kuti. Rio de Janeiro’s lineup includes Alok, Mart’nália, Criolo, Liniker, Tropkillaz and Mosquito. While only Delta Goodrem has been announced for the Sydney, Australia event, Usher, BTS, Metallica, Green Day, Lorde, Andrea Bocelli, Keith Urban and Ricky Martin, are also set to perform in locations yet to be announced.
While the London show will be non-ticketed, “tickets for the L.A. show are now available at globalcitizenlive.la and can be “earned by taking action” toward Global Citizen’s goals, similar to the concerts already announced for New York City’s Central Park and Paris near the Eiffel Tower, which have ticketing opportunities at GlobalCitizenLive.org,” reports Variety. In London, the event will also be broadcast live “for more than nine hours on the BBC as well as on global streaming sites. In America, ABC will broadcast highlights from the events in a less expansive prime time slot the following night, Sunday the 26th, beginning at 7 p.m. ET,” the outlet notes, adding: “Besides ABC and the BBC, other outlets airing the worldwide concerts in part or full include iHeartRadio, YouTube, Hulu, FX, Twitter, Time, the Roku Channel, Australia’s Channel 9, Brazil’s Multishow and Bis, France’s TF1/TMC and Singapore’s Mediacorp.”
But back to that other big philanthropic television event we were reporting on: “The Activist will spread awareness about society’s most urgent issues while also giving every viewer the opportunity to be part of the solution – an unprecedented example of how entertainment can change the world,” Michael Rapino, CEO at Live Nation Entertainment, told Deadline, adding: “Combining competition and compassion, these essential causes will take center stage, as the show proves that there are no issues we can’t solve when we work together and demand change.”
But seriously—is there a blue vest to be won?