According to a memo that NBC News SVP sent to staff today, Billy Bush has officially been cut from the NBC roster. After more than a week of rumored settlement negotiations, and a week after Bush was suspended from the 9AM hour of The Today Show, the TV host has finally been fired from the network.
Although the rumors over the past week have almost exclusively been focused on how Bush would leave his job, not when, no concrete news of a settlement package has been released. Which might be good, since if Billy does receive a sizable severance package he’s sort of been publicly shamed into giving it away already.
In case you’ve magically been away from a computer for the last week and a half (which if true, sincerest congratulations on your life and restraint), Billy’s firing comes in the wake of a tape surfacing that had he and Donald Trump making lewd sexual comments about women. While Billy seemed very contrite in his apology, it wasn’t enough for the network to keep him on board – even in an “Anderson Cooper lying low for months on end” type of way. Which makes sense, seeing as the Trump mess isn’t even his first scandal of the year.
While CNN Money reports that Bush does not have a noncompete clause in his exit agreement, he may have a nondisclosure agreement about the deal which would explain why he is not speaking about the situation until Election Day – and maybe not after that for a while either.
Oppenheim’s statement included a nice sendoff for Bush, but one that doesn’t truly acknowledge the sudden upheaval that his absence will cause even though he only joined the show a few months ago.
“While he was a new member of the ‘Today’ team, he was a valued colleague and longtime member of the broader NBC family. We wish him success as he goes forward.”
For now, Harry Connick Jr. is filling in in Billy’s place. Connick Jr. has served as a one size fits all fixer for morning shows as of late, as he helped out Live with Kelly over the summer while that show worked to find someone to fill Michael Strahan’s place after a similarly sudden departure.
Billy’s parting comment, and his first since his suspension was announced, was
“I am deeply grateful for the conversations I’ve had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues,” he said. “I look forward to what lies ahead.”
What’s ahead is very unclear, as at 45 years old it might be hard for the Access Hollywood vet to jump right back in the entertainment show waters right away.
(via CNN Money)