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Billy Bush has found a new TV home.
The former Today host will anchor Extra Extra, a new iteration of the syndicated entertainment show, which will debut this fall when Extra moves to Fox, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The job is Bush’s first hosting gig since he left NBC’s Today show after the infamous Access Hollywood audio leaked of him talking with then-Apprentice host Donald Trump.
Bush was let go from Today in 2016 shortly after audio emerged of him and then-presidential candidate Trump talking on the Access Hollywood bus in 2005. In the footage, obtained and published by The Washington Post a month before the 2016 election, Trump was heard bragging about kissing women without their permission and, most memorably, grabbing “them by the pussy.” Bush could be heard laughing and egging the then-Apprentice star on as Trump bragged about sexual assault.
Bush and Trump both apologized, but the president went on to famously dismiss his comments as “locker room talk.”
Bush was suspended and ultimately let go from Today shortly after the tape emerged, before Trump won the November 2016 election.
In his first extended interview since the scandal, with THR in May of 2017, Bush called the prior seven months, “a roller coaster.”
“If you start from the day everything happened, Friday, Oct.?7, it was just instant shock. Things were happening way too fast, and a media circus developed,” he said. “I’ve never been the type that the paparazzi would be interested in. So that early part was just chaos. But then things progressed, and when you have a big, traumatic event, you go through stages, and it led to acceptance and understanding. And then I found myself in a place of soul searching. And I developed a commitment to become a better, fuller man.”
He added of the infamous Trump conversation, which took place when the real estate mogul was a star for NBC, “Looking back on what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic…. I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”
Bush more recently told People, which first reported the news of his new gig, that he’s changed in the roughly two-and-a-half years since he left Today.
“We all have to be able to evolve as we grow,” Bush said. “The guy that left the scene in 2016 was already a changed person [since 2005], but I had the opportunity to grow up a little bit. Facing adversity in some way is good. And I feel I’ll be better at my job than I ever was. This is my next step.”
As for the tape, he told People, “I own the moment. It was a bad moment. And I was in it. But one moment doesn’t define your life.”
He’s previously expressed annoyance for how the tape affected him and Trump differently.
Last October on Instagram, he wrote, “Two years ago today, my life went from order to chaos in a dramatic instant. I accounted for my small part, while the President and my employer walked away and still haven’t accounted for their actions. These past couple years have been character building to say the least — anxiety attacks, fits of rage, feelings of betrayal and abandonment — and I have concluded that I am NOT extraordinary. Terrible things can happen at any moment to ANYONE.”
Extra, it was announced in December, is moving from its longtime home on NBC owned-and-operated stations to Fox in seven major markets, starting in the fall.
The syndicated newsmagazine is produced by Telepictures and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution.
Extra Extra is set to premiere Sept. 9, a rep for the show confirmed. The rebranded program will feature a modernized set and in-depth look at pop culture, sports and politics, according to People. The magazine added that Extra host Mario Lopez will continue in his role through the end of the current season.
Sources had previously told THR that Bush was in talks to make his TV return to Extra when the show made its move in the fall. The longtime host, who also once hosted a nationwide syndicated talk and music radio show, first appeared on Extra as a New York-based freelance correspondent in 2002.
Extra Extra will air from a new broadcast center and newsroom at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California, while continuing to report from bureaus in L.A. and New York and establishing new outposts in Nashville and Las Vegas.
Senior executive producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey said in a statement, “Billy is the consummate journalist with extensive celebrity industry contacts and reach. No one does more illuminating interviews and in-depth stories than him. He’s the perfect host as we reinvent Extra for a new generation. I’m thrilled to welcome him back to television.”
Bush added in a separate statement, “My first job on national television was on Extra so this is a homecoming of sorts for me. I’m excited to join the incredible team and be a part of the show as it gets refreshed for its move to the Fox Television Stations.”
7:30 a.m. This story has been updated with additional information from Extra and statements from Bush and executive producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey.
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