Billy Bush and NBC have officially parted ways after the now-former Today host reached a settlement with the network following the leaked 2005 video of his lewd hot mic conversation with Donald Trump. Terms of the settlement were not announced.
In a statement following news of his exit, Bush said, “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.”
“Billy Bush will be leaving the Today show’s 9 a.m. hour, effective today,” Today senior vice president Noah Oppenheim wrote in a memo to staff Monday (via The Hollywood Reporter). “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.”
According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, there was no “noncompete” clause in Bush’s settlement, which allows the host to pursue opportunities at rival networks. Bush, who had a three-year contract with NBC that paid him $3 million annually, reportedly received most of that money in the agreement.
Bush was immediately and indefinitely suspended by NBC following the October 7th leak of the Access Hollywood footage, where Trump told Bush in a hot mic moment, “When you’re a star, [women] let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”
After Bush and Trump’s vulgar conversation, the reporter than prodded soap opera actress Arianne Zucker into hugging him and Trump.
Following the video’s leak, Bush said in a statement, “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
Despite the apology, NBC immediately suspended Bush, the nephew of George H.W. Bush and cousin of George W. and Jeb Bush who joined Today in August as the 9 a.m.-hour host, and briefly addressed his absence on the next episode of Today.
Bush’s exit comes as Melania Trump was prepared to blame the then-Access Hollywood host for the incident that captured headlines and caused Trump’s presidential odds to plummet in a Monday night interview with Anderson Cooper, with the nominee’s wife saying that Bush “egged on” Trump to make the lewd comments that Melania called “boy talk.”