No Billy Bush, no problem — at least, so long as the rubber-necking factor is still in play from 7-9 a.m. ET.
NBC’s “Today” show grew last week in TV ratings without its regular third-hour host being in the building, widening the key demo margin over “Good Morning America” and narrowing the total viewer gap between the two talk shows.
“Today” topped “GMA” by an average of 231,000 audience members ages 25-54. Last year, the same week’s margin was just 31,000 over those first two hours.
“GMA” ended up beating “Today” by 187,000 total viewers in the hours they went head-to-head. This time last year that gap was 378,000, however.
“Today” has won 58 of the past 59 weeks in the main demo. That show airs over four total hours, while “GMA” is just two, which is why they don’t technically compete from a TV ratings standpoint between 9 a.m. ET and 11.
Bush was officially fired last night by NBC News. His now-former colleague Matt Lauer briefly touched on the turnover this morning.
Also Read: Billy Bush Out at 'Today' Show
Bush had officially been placed on suspension from the network earlier this month following the release of 2005 audio featuring the then-“Access Hollywood” host making lewd comments with Donald Trump. He had since been negotiating the terms of his exit from the network.
Previous reports had put the settlement at $10 million, a number disputed by Bush’s attorney Marshall Grossman.
Either way, it appears an agreement was reached just shy of Debate No. 3, which takes place tomorrow night.
Days before the second presidential debate, the Washington Post published a videotape of Trump on a hot mic boasting about kissing, groping and having sex with women. “When you’re a star, they let you do anything … I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” he said. “Grab ‘em by the pu–y.”
Bush is heard throughout the tape agreeing with Trump as he made disparaging remarks about a married woman, and even egged him on. It was later revealed that the woman in question was Nancy O’Dell, who was the co-host of “Access Hollywood” at the time.
Bush came forward to immediately apologize after the tape was leaked, saying he was “embarrassed and ashamed.”
Related stories from TheWrap: