Billy Bush Banishment Boosts Viewer Interest In ‘Today’s 9 AM Timeslot

Lisa de Moraes
Deadline

Billy Bush’s lewd-talk suspension goosed Today show ratings in the 9 AM hour last week.

Today‘s 7-9 AM block, hosted by Savannah Guthrie and host-in-chief Matt Lauer, and the 10-11 AM block helmed by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, both were down week to week in total viewers and in the news demo. Only the 9 AM hour that should have been hosted by Bush saw a ratings bump during the week of October 10, compared to previous week.

Given that the morning shows had been jammed with coverage of Hurricane Matthew the previous week, Today‘s Billy Bush bump at 9 AM only is pretty impressive.

Bush was suspended from the show on Sunday, October 9 because, NBC News SVP Noah Oppenheim wrote, “there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape” leaked to the Washington Post that Friday. In that tape, Trump is heard boasting he’s so famous he can grope women with impunity and Bush is heard pronouncing an NBC soap actress the two men are about to meet “hot as shit” and asking the actress to hug the real estate mogul.

Anyway, on Monday the 10th, 3.382M viewers, 1.294M of them in the news demographic, stayed tuned to Today at 9 AM to see what happened and what fill-in host Al Roker would have to say. That’s a bump compared to previous Monday’s 2.944 total viewers and 1.074M news demo viewers in Today’s 9 AM hour.

That Monday, October 10 broadcast was Today‘s most watched 9 AM hour of the week, in both metrics.

But Today at 9 also was up for the full week, during which Bush’s suspension continued. The Bush timeslot averaged 2.905M total viewers (compared to previous week’s 2.876M). In the news demo, the 9 AM hour scored 1.045M viewers the week of Bush’s suspension (compared to previous week’s1.021M).

Last night, NBC News said it had parted company with Bush, and wished him well.

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