Billy Bush’s career suffered a major blow on Oct. 7 when footage of he and Donald Trump making crass comments about women while aboard the “Access Hollywood” bus hit the web. Bush was suspended from his duties as a “Today” host with no indication of if or when he will return.
His suspension has left many fans speculating that he will struggle to find work in the future, but it seems ABC may be eyeing him for a new opportunity. According to Page Six, the network is considering adding Bush to Season 24 of “Dancing With the Stars.” Sources told the publication that it is not uncommon for public figures to “do the apology tour” following a closely-covered mistake, citing Ryan Lochte’s attempt to dance into the hearts of Americans on “DWTS” in Season 23. The new season of the dancing competition is slated to air in March 2017, which Page Six’s sources believe is enough time for the American public to forget Bush’s participation in the graphic 2005 conversation.
“That’s far enough away. Everybody goes on to do the apology tour. It’s ironic there is Ryan Lochte on, who he started this controversy with when he started with ‘Today,’” the source said. “It’s also a way for ABC to establish a relationship with him.”
ABC’s rumored interest in Bush, 44, could not have come at a better time for the controversial TV host. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Bush was negotiating his exit from NBC following his suspension from “Today.” Citing two people close to the situation, the publication reported that Bush will be leaving NBC in the coming days. He joined the NBC morning show’s cast this summer, hosting their third hour almost daily. In his absence Al Roker and others have stepped in to temporarily fill his shoes. Recent reports suggest “Today” is considering asking Carson Daly, who is already a host on the show, to take Bush’s spot alongside Tamron Hall and Roker on a more permanent basis.
Bush’s suspension was announced on Monday. During the regular “Today” broadcast co-host Savannah Guthrie took a moment to address the recent scandal, revealing that NBC News had made the decision to remove Bush from the cast temporarily. The network intended to look further into the incident before decided whether Bush would be welcome back to “Today.” Guthrie’s comments echoed those made by NBC executive Noah Oppenheim, which called Bush’s lewd comments in the leaked Trump tapes inexcusable.
“I know we’ve all been deeply troubled by the revelations of the past 48 hours. Let me be clear — there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape,” Oppenheim told NBC staffers. “NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.”
The Trump tapes leaked on Friday. The video/audio first appeared on the Washington Post and featured Trump bragging to Bush about making sexual advances toward a married woman. Trump can be heard telling Bush that he “moved on her like a b----,” but was not able to get anywhere with her. Bush then comments on the appearance of Arianne Zucker, who was showing them around the “Days of Our Lives” set, calling her “hot as s---.” Trump suggests that he should “use some Tic Tacs” should he have to opportunity to kiss her, adding that he often kisses women without waiting for their approval. The Republican presidential hopeful goes on to say that because of his star power many women allow him to “do anything” he wants with them, joking that he can “grab them by the p----.”
Both Bush and Trump have issued what they consider to be apologies. While fans wait to learn Bush’s fate, Trump continues to campaign for the U.S. presidency against Hillary Clinton. He has been asked about his comments several times, dismissing them as “locker room talk.”