Billy Bush: Why Katie Couric Cut Me Off

 NBC

This story first appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Access Hollywood's Billy Bush flew from L.A. to N.Y. to interview Katie Couric after the first taping of her talk show Sept. 10. But about 10 minutes in, a PR woman snapped: "That's enough. Wrap. You're done!" -- with Katie exec producer Jeff Zucker nearby.

"I asked Katie about having dated a man 17 years her junior," Bush tells THR. "This is relevant to the milieu of daytime television; her viewers want to know about the older woman/younger man trend. She said it was a 'cheesy question,' so I asked for a cheesy answer." And that's when the plug got pulled, according to Bush.

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"There are plenty of suck-up TV personalities who would have gone on that set with a cake and kissed Katie's ass," complains Bush, never one to shy away from a good line. "I'm the host of Access Hollywood -- I gave up that stuff years ago! Meanwhile, she asked Jennifer Lopez the same question a few days later, about dating a man 18 years younger. We only asked about a 17-year difference!"

An insider at Katie says "everyone can agree that Access had an exclusive 20-plus-minute interview. It's unfortunate if there was any misunderstanding." A Katie spokesman had no comment.

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