'Today' Briefly Addresses Billy Bush Suspension

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Billy Bush at SiriusXM Studios on Aug. 22, 2016 in New York City.  

Savannah Guthrie made a short statement with the basic information roughly 15 minutes into the program, at the end of a long discussion about Sunday night's contentious debate and before turning to coverage of Hurricane Matthew.

In the first weekday broadcast since audio emerged of Donald Trump making lewd comments to Billy Bush on an Access Hollywood bus, NBC's Today Show stuck to basic, minimal facts in its references to the tape and Bush's role in the incident. Bush, who now co-hosts the third hour of NBC's Today, was initially expected to appear on Monday's show and apologize, again, for his role in the incident. But on Sunday night, NBC announced that Bush would not be on Monday's show and in fact had been suspended.

Still Today viewers were curious to see how the morning show would address Bush's role in the scandalous comments.

The morning show — hosted on Monday by Savannah Guthrie and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, filling in for Matt Lauer, who was off Monday — spent its first 15 minutes on Sunday night's second presidential debate, keeping any references to the tape minimal and in the context of what was said about them during the debate.

The first extended reference to the tapes came from NBC News' reporter on the scene in St. Louis, Hallie Jackson, who referred to the "vulgar audio that's thrown [Trump's] campaign into crisis." During a news recap, she said the audio was "part of a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush during Access Hollywood, which is presented by NBCUniversal."

Trump and Clinton campaign managers Kellyanne Conway and Robby Mook, respectively, also referred to the tapes but didn't mention Bush by name, with Conway insisting that Trump has apologized and Mook countering that his characterization of his remarks as "locker room talk" was him "doubl[ing] down on his non-apology."

Chuck Todd, Nicolle Wallace, Steve Kornacki were then brought in to analyze the effect of Clinton and Trump's performances on the minds of voters.

It wasn't until the end of the opening segment that Guthrie addressed Bush's suspension, saying simply, "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."

Coverage then turned to the ongoing fallout from Hurricane Matthew.

Today's website, meanwhile, had a basic story about Bush's suspension, titled Billy Bush suspended from TODAY pending further review, in the second spot from the left on Monday morning, with a timestamp on the post indicating it had gone live during the NBC morning show. Video of Guthrie's comment about Bush's suspension was also tweeted from Today's official account.

As the first hour of Today continued, there was some further discussion of the tape, but only as it pertained to the effect of Trump's comments on the Republican party, with Todd, Wallace and Kornacki returning to analyze the state of his campaign and the GOP.

It was Jackson again who offered an extended look at the tape, playing the part about Trump popping some Tic Tacs "in case [he started] kissing" a woman, talking about how he's "attracted to beautiful" and can't help himself from kissing them. The clip shown also included his "grab them by the p—" comment that quickly made headlines. On the tape, Bush can be heard laughing and chiming in on Trump's comments.

More to come...

The article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.


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