BUSH RETURNS — Billy Bush may be en route to his TV comeback, two years after getting the hook from the third hour of NBC News’ Today.
Bush has had conversations with executives surrounding Extra about joining the syndicated entertainment newsmag, as the program prepares to make a major station move. Two weeks ago it was announced Extrahad been acquired by Fox in seven major markets; the transition in those markets from NBC to Fox stations in various markets is set for fall 2019.
At the time the deal was announced, Fox said there would be “great opportunities” for Extra to “work with our news department as well.”
It’s been about a year since Bush began his career resuscitation, guesting on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, hours after the New York Timespublished his op-ed piece insisting it is in fact Donald Trump’s voice in the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood bus-ride tape, boasting about being so famous he can grab women “by the p*ssy” with impunity.”
That op-ed opportunity came to Bush compliments of Trump, after POTUS started telling some people in private, including at least one member of the U.S. Senate, that he does not think it is his voice on the tape. That was back when Trump saying things he knew to be untrue was considered big news.
The longtime Access Hollywood host very briefly was a Today host for NBC News; he was sacked not long after the Washington Post made public the tawdry Access Hollywood tape that NBC News had, but sat on.
In his op-ed piece, titled, Yes, Donald Trump, You Said That, Bush wrote, “Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator.”
Seven more men were on the bus at the time, Bush said, “and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass stand-up act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real. We now know better.”
The cousin of 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush attempted to explain his behavior at the time: “In 2005, I was in my first full year as a co-anchor of the show Access Hollywood on NBC. Mr. Trump, then on The Apprentice, was the network’s biggest star.”
“The key to succeeding in my line of work was establishing a strong rapport with celebrities. I did that, and was rewarded for it,” Bush said, crediting his segments with Trump when he was a correspondent, calling it “part of the reason I got promoted.”
“Was I acting out of self-interest? You bet I was. Was I alone? Far from it. With Mr. Trump’s outsized viewership back in 2005, everybody from Billy Bush on up to the top brass on the 52nd floor had to stroke the ego of the big cash cow along the way to higher earnings.”
I’ve known Bush for years and he’s a decent enough fellow who got caught up in something he had no control over. He’s in the midst of a messy separation from his wife and three daughters. Face it, he got a raw deal.
Extra’s own AJ Calloway, in recent weeks has also faced accusations from several women. AJ’s not a nice guy … let’s leave it at that and I’m surprised it took this long for allegations like this to come out.
The big picture is that Fox has taken over Extra … and, will make it much more controversial.
Good for Bush.
News of Bush’s talks to join Extra first was reported by The Blast.
TRUE DETECTIVE — HBO’s True Detective returned last night in its third version. The first one with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson was just brilliant and though the second version, with Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams, some called a mist-step, I rather enjoyed it.
The show is written by Nick Pizzolatto and all the shows in the first season were directed by new-Bond director Cary Joji Fukunaga. The two had a major falling out and though Fukunaga is still an executive producer, had little to do with season two.
This season is all Pizzolatto and all the atmospheric moodiness from season one is back. Also, all the music is done by T Bone Burnett and with this third season, he again amazes. The theme is “Death Letter” by Cassandra Wilson and just striking.
Mahershala Ali, from Green Book, is the lead here, paired with Stephen Dorff and the two make for an interesting coupling a la McConaughey and Harrelson.
The story is about two missing children in Arkansas, but the hook is that Ali essays his character (Wayne Hays) in three different time lines (got that?). First as a young cop in 1980; second, once he had left the police force in 1990 and the third, as an older man in 2015.
He’s just terrific and Dorff, who I have long been a fan of, is spot-on. Scott McNairy, he was in Godless with Jeff Daniels, is excellent as well.
Hays finds the boy, but not the girl. The surprise ending is that the girl is alive, but far removed from Arkansas.
I’m in; it was pretty great.
SHORT TAKES — NBC’s Blindpsot returned with an episode Friday that finally resolved the Jane/Remi-dilemma. It was a pretty trippy episode, as it featured what was going on in the minds of both characters. Trippy indeed. Actually reminded me of The Monkees’ Head in some spots. Jamie Alexander killed it. Welcome back! … Micky Dolenz kicks off his 2019 touring schedule tomorrow at the Avalon Theatre at The Fallsview Casino in Ontario. He’s there for three shows … Saw The Favorite this weekend. Really have no idea what it was about, but the performances from Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were just brilliant. A period piece for sure, it was a romp. And, First Man, with Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy. This is director Damien Chazelle’s first movie after his award winning La La Land (six Oscars) and it was good, but dark. It essayed the story of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. Funnily enough, the music in First Man was just terrific; I mean where else would you hear a theremin track? Don’t know if it has the impact of Best Movie of the Year,but it very compelling … and, Jo Andres, filmmaker, choreographer and wife of actor Steve Buscemi, has died. A cause of death has not been stated. She was 64. Andres was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1954 and later moved to New York City, where she began performing at the off-off-Broadway theater the Performing Garage. In 1996, her short film Black Kites, which she wrote and directed, played at several film festivals including Sundance, Berlin and Toronto. Andres worked as an editor on Buscemi’s short film What Happened to Pete in 1992.She was also an artist, and a number of her works can be viewed on her website. Andres married Buscemi in 1987, and the couple has one son, Lucian.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Alex Pedersen; William Schill; Steve Buscemi; Robert Funaro; Mark Bego; Jane Blunkell; Tyrone Biljan; Jacqueline Boyd; Rich Dart; Wayne Avers; Al Pacino; Keith Girard; and, CFS.