Billy Bush could have a new gig lined up by early next year as producers for the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars are reportedly keen to have the embattled Today host compete in the upcoming season of the dance competition show.
A source with knowledge of the plan told the New York Post‘s Page Six that the network believes that the controversy around Bush could subside by the time the next season of the show premieres in Spring 2017.
Bush is reportedly negotiating an exit from NBC’s Today after he was heard on an 11-year-old leaked tape appearing to laugh as Donald Trump joked about women behind the scenes during an Access Hollywood segment.
“It comes in March. That’s far enough away,” a source with knowledge of ABC’s plans said of the network’s desire to have Bush on Dancing with the Stars. “Everybody goes on to do the apology tour. It’s ironic there is Ryan Lochte on, who he started his controversy with when he started with Today.”
The source added that the move would allow Bush to develop a relationship with a new network.
The report comes as TMZ reported Wednesday that NBC executives knew about the existence of the old Access Hollywood tape well before it was leaked to the Washington Post earlier this month, but allegedly decided to hold its release so as to do as much damage as possible to the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign.
Sources told the outlet that NBC had planned to release a “sanitized” version of the tape that protected Bush, but the plans were derailed when the tape was leaked to the Post ahead of the second presidential debate.
Bush issued an apology on Friday after the tape was made public.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” he said in a statement. “It’s not an excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
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