Billy Bush will 'get the ax from NBC' after he was caught on Trump tape - but the network denies it planned to edit him out of recording
- Billy Bush is set to exit Today according to multiple reports
- The Today anchor, who just started his new job two months ago, is said to be negotiating his exit with the network
- This comes less than a week after tape emerged of Bush making lewd comments about women with Donald Trump
- An NBC source tells DailyMail.com that despite reports to the contrary, the network never tried to edit Bush out of the damning tape
- 'Management are worried that if Billy goes back on the air, there may be something else that he has done that they aren’t aware of,' said the source
- The 44-year-old host, who has three teenage daughters, apologized for his words in a statement on Friday
Billy Bush is exiting Today just two months after he took over as the anchor of the show's third hour according to multiple sources.
CNN Money spoke with two sources who stated that Bush's departure is a question of 'when' and not 'if' less than a week after tape first surfaced that featured Bush and Donald Trump making lewd comments about women.
The Hollywood Reporter also spoke with a network source who said that Bush and NBC are negotiating his exit from the show.
Details of his contract with NBC are not known, but it is reportedly in the seven-figure range.
Meanwhile, a source at NBC told DailyMail.com that the network at no point tried to edit Bush out of the damning tape, despite reports to the contrary that have emerged over the past few days.
NBC had the tape and knew about it for days but claimed it was still in the process of getting legal approval when someone inside the organization leaked it to The Washington Post.
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Out of luck: Billy Bush is set to exit Today according to multiple reports (Bush above with Savannah Guthrie)
Casual Monday: The Today anchor, who just started his new job two months ago, is said to be negotiating his exit with the network (Bush above on Monday)
In the tape, Bush can be heard calling actress Arianne Zucker, who was then on Days of Our Lives, a 'hot piece of a**,' and also saying nothing while Trump goes on and his co-host Nancy O'Dell.
'I did try and f*** her. She was married,' Trump tells Bush on the tapes, the transcript of which was first published by The Washington Post on Friday.
'And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, "I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture."'
Trump went on to say: 'I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.
'Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.'
Bush later apologized, but according to one insider that was not enough for the network.
'What is stunning is how self-important Billy is. He bragged about this in Rio and many people believe Access Hollywood management knew about this for much longer than they are saying and they were protecting Billy while not doing the right thing and informing NBC News,' the source told DailyMail.com.
That individual went to to say that Bush was 'never a fit' for the program.
'What angers a lot of people is that before Billy even started on the show, he was trying to position himself as the heir to Matt, but he’s not even close to being in Matt’s league. Billy is a presenter, not a journalist and NBC was never going to let that happen,' said the source.
That being said, Bush did manage to secure the network's biggest interview during the Olympic Games in Rio when he ran into Ryan Lochte on the beach.
He recorded the Olympian on his iPhone as he recounted being robbed just hours earlier at a gas station.
And while the swimmer's tale of being robbed at gunpoint ended up being false, it did provide great ratings for the network.
Bush was not however allowed to do any of the subsequent interviews with Lochte. That honor instead went to Matt Lauer.
Bad look: This comes less than a week after tape emerged of Bush making lewd comments about women with Donald Trump (Trump, Arianne Zucker and Bush above in 2005)
The other problem according to the source is Bush's behavior over the past few days.
'When Brian Williams was suspended no one saw him, he kept a low profile. Yet Billy is out in public in rolled up sweat pants and flip flops looking like he just rolled out of bed. Not the image of professionalism that viewers expect of a Today Show anchor,' said the individual.
'If I had a message for Billy, it would be, stop swanning around LA and go volunteer at a shelter for women and children to show you are truly sorry.'
The source added: 'The rumor internally is that management are worried that if Billy goes back on the air, there may be something else that he has done that they aren’t aware of that could come out and really damage the show.'
Bush is said to have broken down in tears after the audio of him making lewd comments about women was released this past Friday.
A source told US Weekly that he quickly grew nervous that the tape would lead to him being fired from his new job.
'Billy was devastated and crying when the leaked tape of him with Donald Trump in 2005 was first leaked to The Washington Post,' said the source.
'He was crying that his career was over.'
Bush, 44, was seen for the first time since the news of his suspension on Monday afternoon, looking unkempt and scruffy as he grabbed lunch in Los Angeles with one of his three teenage daughters.
He wore sweatpants and flip flops for the outing, along with a shirt that read: 'Sun. Beach. Whiskey.'
The decision to suspend Bush was addressed on Today Monday morning by lead anchor Savannah Guthrie.
'We want to note one other thing,' said Guthrie at the top of the program.
'Pending further review of the matter, NBC News has suspended Billy Bush, the host of Today’s third hour, for his role in that conversation with Donald Trump.'
The suspension was again addressed at the start of the third hour as well by Hall and Roker.
'As you can see, Billy Bush is not joining us today, as you’re probably aware,' said Roker.
'Part of that 2005 Access Hollywood taping with Donald Trump that’s been in the news all weekend.'
Hall then added: 'NBC, which owns Access Hollywood, has suspended Billy for his role in that conversation, pending further review. With that said, let’s turn to last night’s debate, where that 2005 tape played a big role.'
Friends forever: An NBC source tells DailyMail.com that despite reports to the contrary, the network never tried to edit Bush out of the damning tape (Bush with his daughters and wife)
At least one of Bush's co-workers did come to his defense though on Monday.
Bush's former Access Hollywood co-host Kit Hoover fought back tears while speaking about the Today anchor's recent suspension by NBC.
'I don’t even know where to begin with all of this,' said Hoover at the top of Monday morning's episode of Access Hollywood.
'When the tapes came out on Friday, I was home watching with my 14-year-old daughter and the tapes are inexcusable. But I’m watching this tape and I’m watching this person - those tapes were a decade ago and it was seven minutes of someone’s life, and all I can tell you is what I know and the person that I sat next to for the last six years, and that person for me is a totally different person.
'He always treated me with kindness, such respect — I mean, Natalie, he treated me like an equal from day one and I think anybody that watched our show at home and saw us together knew how much he rooted for me.
'He was always in my corner. I was just devastated to watch all this unfold because the Billy that I know - and that a lot of people would say - has the biggest heart of anybody, and he is a good person,' said Hoover.
Natalie Morales the chimed in to say a few positive things about Bush as well, stating: 'I will say that one of the first people to call me and congratulate me when I announced that I would be getting this job was Billy.'
She then added: 'He also offered advice and offered to help with my move and transition.'
Uncertain future: 'Management are worried that if Billy goes back on the air, there may be something else that he has done that they aren’t aware of,' said an NBC source (Bush aboive with Natalie Morales in 2013)
Bush, who is married with three teenage daughters, released a statement shortly after the 2005 tape surfaced on Friday.
'Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,' said Bush, who was 33 at the time.
Zucker, the Days of Our Lives actress who Bush referred to as 'hot as s***' also released a statement over the weekend.
'My name is Arianne Zucker and I am a strong, independent, hard working mother, business woman and partner to a great man. I have grown to learn that the words of others cannot effect the value of my self worth or define the content of my character,' said Zucker.
'How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity and respect. Unfortunately, there are too many people in power who abuse their position and disregard these simple principles and are rewarded for it.'
She closed out her statement by saying: 'In understanding the magnitude of this situation, I choose to stand tall with self respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire and elevate the best of who we are as people.'
Bush also did a poor job trying of distancing himself from Trump after the release of the tape.
A call to his work phone over the weekend revealed that his voicemail says: 'You've reached Billy Bush's office, he's busy making America great again, please leave a message.'
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