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Bush said her experiences on "Chicago PD" and "One Tree Hill" made her "rethink" doing network TV.
Now on CBS's "Good Sam," Bush said she showed the cast and crew "empathy" and "deep respect."
Representatives for NBC and the creator of "One Tree Hill" didn't respond to requests for comment.
Sophia Bush is starring in the new CBS medical drama "Good Sam," which premiered on Wednesday, about five years after Bush left her starring role on NBC's police procedural "Chicago PD" in 2017.
But it wasn't so easy for Bush to decide to return to network TV — largely because of the toxic workplace situations she said she experienced on the sets of "Chicago PD" and her earlier hit show "One Tree Hill," a teen drama that ran for nine seasons on the WB and then on the CW from 2003 to 2012.
The "Love, Victor" actor recently told USA Today that the experiences she said she had on both "Chicago PD" and "One Tree Hill" were why she began to consciously choose independent projects and roles on streaming networks like Hulu, in addition to her work on two elections and launching two podcasts.
"It was a very jarring thing to have the two longest-running jobs that I've done in my career be poisoned with this kind of behavior that ran the gamut of severity," she said. "It really made me rethink what I wanted to do."
In November 2017, Bush signed a letter with many of her former female "One Tree Hill" costars and crew members in solidarity with her former coworker Audrey Wauchope. In the letter, published by Variety, the women said they were "manipulated psychologically and emotionally" by the "One Tree Hill" creator Mark Schwahn.
"Many of us were put in uncomfortable positions and had to swiftly learn to fight back, sometimes physically, because it was made clear to us that the supervisors in the room were not the protectors they were supposed to be," the letter said in part.
A representative for Schwahn didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Earlier that same year, Bush had departed "Chicago PD" after four seasons, with her character, Detective Erin Lindsay, making her final appearance in the season-four finale, which aired in May 2017. At the time, Bush didn't speak out about why she had exited the hit NBC drama. In December 2018, during an appearance on Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast, Bush said she experienced "abusive behavior" and assault on "Chicago PD."
Bush told Shepard that her experience on "Chicago PD" was worse than that on "One Tree Hill" because Schwahn was a "bad dude" who "lived in LA" and most of the time she and her castmates were away from him "loving our experience" on set in Wilmington, North Carolina, where "One Tree Hill" was filmed.
She said her time on "Chicago PD" made her feel "like I was standing butt-naked, bruised, and bleeding in the middle of Times Square, screaming at the top of my lungs, and not a single person stopped to ask if they could help me," she told Shepard in 2018.
Bush told USA Today in her interview Wednesday that she also didn't like how she had felt "stuck" in her previous network-TV contract.
"I didn't want to be stuck on a set again. Because when you're stuck, you don't have any options. You don't have anywhere to go," she said.
According to USA Today, Bush has said in the past that even though she was ultimately able to exit the series at the end of season four, when she'd first asked to depart "Chicago PD," NBC told her there was "no way" she could leave the show early because she'd signed a seven-year contract to appear on the drama.
A representative for NBC didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
But Bush did make the decision to return to network television after five years away, this time on CBS. And now that Bush is first on the call sheet, she told TVLine in a separate interview, she's determined to do things differently.
Bush said it was important to her that everyone she worked with felt comfortable on set, adding that she was "incredibly proud to set the kind of tone on a set that does lead with empathy" and "leads with deep respect for every single person on it."
"Every single person on our set knows that they're valued, loved, and appreciated and knows that we do not take the effort that they make to create a show with us for granted ever," Bush added.
"Good Sam" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.
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