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Matt Lauer made a brief mention of the news, stating simply, “NBC News announced last night that Billy Bush would be leaving the Today show, effective immediately, noting that he was a valued colleague and longtime member of the broader NBC family.”
“A statement Billy released separately last night,” Lauer continued, “read in part, ‘I look forward to what lies ahead.’ And of course all of us here at Today wish Billy the very best.”
The show’s Twitter account tweeted the video of Lauer’s comments, and a brief story about Bush’s departure was published to Today.com on Tuesday morning.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 18, 2016
At the top of the 9 o’clock hour of Tuesday’s Today, Tamron Hall made a brief mention of Bush’s exit (last week, she informed viewers of Bush’s suspension alongside Al Roker who is now recovering from knee surgery). Hall said in part, “As you may have heard, our former co-host Billy Bush is no longer involved with the Today show.… We wish him all the best as he moves forward.”
The handling of the news is consistent with how Today dealt with informing its viewers of Bush’s suspension. In that case, the day after the decision was made to suspend Bush, the Today show first briefly acknowledged that development at the end of its opening segment about the 2016 presidential election, with Savannah Guthrie delivering the news alongside substitute co-host Lester Holt.
Bush’s departure comes roughly 10 days after hot-mic audio emerged from a 2005 Access Hollywood taping in which Donald Trump made vulgar comments about women, including then Access Hollywood co-host Nancy O’Dell. Bush is heard laughing and egging Trump on in the conversation on the Access Hollywood bus.
NBC and Bush spent last week negotiating the terms of his exit, with news of Bush’s departure finally being announced early Monday evening. A source close to the negotiations told The Hollywood Reporter that NBC did not require a non-compete agreement in Bush’s settlement, meaning he can take another job, possibly at a rival network, immediately.
Bush was recruited to join the third hour of Today earlier this year amid faltering ratings. Bush replaced Willie Geist, who now hosts the Sunday edition of Today and continues to appear on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
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