Update, Oct. 18, 9:30 a.m. PST: It's official: Billy Bush has been fired.
A note was sent out to NBC staff Tuesday morning reading, "Billy Bush will be leaving the TODAY show’s 9am hour, effective today. 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."
Bush released a statement of his own, saying, "I am deeply grateful for the conversations I’ve had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues. I look forward to what lies ahead."
Settlement details from Bush's termination haven't been released, but one source told the Associated Press that there is no non-compete clause, meaning Bush can take another job anywhere at any time.
Update, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. PST: Billy Bush reportedly plans to sue NBC over the leaked tape that got him axed from the Today show.
According to Bush, Access Hollywood was planning to air the tape with Bush's identity protected, but NBC leaked it early.
"He told people at NBC about this tape," a source revealed. "What if there was a transcript of the tape, and high-level discussions about when to release it? Which executives were involved, and why did they decide to suppress the tape until October, when they could have aired it in August? Was it an oversight or a strategic decision by NBC to affect the race? Billy was far from the only person at NBC who was talking about the contents of this tape. On-air talent does not make the decision when to air stories like this."
By now you've probably heard about Billy Bush and Donald Trump's sexist conversation that was recorded 11 years ago but only recently published by The Washington Post. The backlash to it was swift and has resulted in Bush being suspended from the Today show.
But does this video and Bush's subsequent suspension from NBC signal the end of his career? A source recently told People magazine that there's talk that Bush "can't recover" from this recent scandal, adding, "It's so ironic that the place that got him there — his job on Access Hollywood — is now destroying him."
The source also went on to state that the leak was "purposeful" and that it came from a source high up. "They could have released the tape and edited him out," the source stated. "That was the plan — they were trying to approve it, and then someone leaked it. That's what Access Hollywood eventually did, and they played it … but it was already out."
The source also notes that no one wanted to protect Bush — and they had plenty of opportunity to do so. They said, "If they wanted to protect him, they could have edited it out, which they did on the final Access [Hollywood] piece that aired on Friday, but they left it in when it was leaked."
Bush has commented on the recording, claiming that he was sorry for his actions and deeply ashamed by his remarks. However, a large part of the Today viewership is composed of women, and it's not clear whether viewers — or staffers — will be willing to forgive and forget such sexist and demeaning "locker room" talk.
To make things even worse for Bush, there are rumors that Carson Daly is set to replace him (at least temporarily). According to Page Six, two people familiar with the situation at NBC have revealed that on Tuesday, Daly is expected to co-host the Today show with Tamron Hall, although there's no confirmation of how long he's meant to be on the show.
According to the publication, if Bush does end up returning, it might not be anytime soon as NBC considers the actions it plans to take.
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