Billy Bush Returns to Television Three Years after 'Access Hollywood' Tape
Some thought it would never happen, but Billy Bush is back hosting on television after being fired for a 2005 Access Hollywood tape that was shown in 2016. The tape was made during Billy's first year as a co-host on Access Hollywood in 2005. He had been a successful host for eleven years when the tape was seen around the world.
NBC knew about the tape long before it was shown. The network promised Bush he had nothing to worry about since he was not the one saying vulgar things about women. NBC did suspend Bush and ultimately fired him weeks after he had transferred from Extra and he had just gotten a new job on the third hour of NBC's Today.
Bush returned to television after three years on Monday, September 9, 2019. His job is not on NBC where he was fired. He is now the new host of Extra in Burbank, California. At the beginning of his first show, he told viewers that he had “learned a few things" during his "time off, or time out.”
Bush Wished He Had Changed the Subject
It still seems unfair that Bush lost his job, his home, and family while the real estate mogul and former star of The Apprentice became president of the United States. Billy never felt bitter about his fate even though he said he was annoyed how the tape affected him and Trump differently.
In interviews after the tape was revealed, Bush admitted that it was his first year on the job and he did not want to go against a television mogul like Donald Trump. He confessed, "Looking back on what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic, but I didn't have the strength of character to do it."
Bush Lost More Than His Job
In the Access Hollywood tape, host Bush is heard laughing when megastar Donald Trump bragged about grabbing women by their private part. Shortly after the tape surfaced, NBC fired Bush.
Bush said his life went from order to chaos the instant he was fired. He described what happened to him was like a roller coaster from that time on. He had just moved his wife and three daughters from Los Angeles in May to start his new job on the third hour of the Today show. His parents were happy to see him back in New York where they lived and Bush was born and raised. The family had bought a house and was renovating it when Billy was filed.
His wife divorced Billy during their upheaval. He lost money on the house he had purchased and no one would offer him a job at the time.
New Show, New Host
It was announced last December that Extra was moving from its longtime home on NBC owned-and-operated stations to Fox in seven major markets starting in the fall of 2019. Those markets include Charlotte, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
On September 9, 2019, Bush began his new job as the anchor on Extra. For legal reasons, the name Extra Extra could not be used and the show had planned. Therefore, it uses the original name Extra is being broadcast from two different locations.
Bush is joined by longtime correspondent Renee Bargh and new correspondent Jennifer Lahmers, who anchored the morning news in New York at WNYW Fox 5. The three of them will host a new program in the modernized set in the new broadcast center and newsroom at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California. They will focus much deeper on pop culture, politics, and sports.
Bush had been a longtime host before he was fired by NBC in 2016. Senior executive producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey speaks highly of Bush's capability and his love of hosting. She 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 made the connection in a statement about how he is almost back where he started. He stated, “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.”
What about the Original "Extra"?
Extra that is already airing on the Fox network in Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. is still be hosted by Mario Lopez until the end of the year.
It is interesting that former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush is replacing Mario Lopez who will move to rival Access Hollywood after this season. Bush will anchor from the former NBC lot in Burbank where Access had previously been based. In other words, Billy Bush and Mario Lopez are switching places.