BILLY BUSH BACK — Billy Bush confirmed in an interview that his cousin, former President George W. Bush, phoned him after the October 2016 release of the blockbuster tape of the former Access Hollywood host’s infamous exchange with Donald Trump in 2005.
“He called me, and said, ‘You’re not laying in bed, are you?’” Bush told CBS News’ Gayle King in a segment that aired Tuesday. “I was like — I got out of bed — ‘No, why would I be laying in bed?’”
Bush said he asked his cousin, “’Should I do this? Should I do that? I’m so mad, I should fight back,’” but the former president responded, “‘Nope. Just, you know, take what they give you and walk away and work on you.’”
Bush was suspended and subsequently fired from his role as a co-host of NBC’s Today after the leak of his conversation with Trump, which upended the 2016 presidential race and featured the future president bragging about sexually assaulting women with impunity.
He returned to television after three years on Monday as the new host of a re-vamped Extra,” telling viewers in his first appearance at the helm of the broadcast that he had “learned a few things” during his “time off, or time out.”
Bush has previously disagreed with Trump’s characterization of his lewd remarks on the Access Hollywood tape as “locker room talk” and argued in a New York Times op-ed that “of course” Trump made the controversial comments after the Times had reported the president had suggested in private conversations the recording was not authentic.
Still, Bush insisted during the CBS interview that he was not angry with Trump for his role in the episode that resulted in the TV presenter being booted off the air while the real estate mogul and former star of The Apprentice ascended to the White House.
“Not for that,” Bush said. “No. I mean he — he was being him. I think part of that personality and character is why he was successful in a boardroom making people fight over lemonade stands.”
Monday’s debut was strong. The new Extra takes the viewer behind the scenes in the Extra-newsroom and even goes so far as to identify who’s who. Extra is now a Fox-show and as such, it’s a tad more racy. Just for the record, former Extra-host Mario Lopez is now the host of Access Hollywood.
In the King interview, Bush says that he now looks for the middle, rather than the high, or low. I’ve known Billy for years and at times, I felt he went off the rails. Let’s face it, we all need some work and whether it was a time out, or time off, he seems as confident as he was before. He said he’d handle interviews a bit differently now and be a bit more sensitive when a time out, or time off, has occurred with a personality.
Billy’s a good guy, who really did do some good work. Separated from his wife, he has three beautiful daughters … one, who made a quick appearance on Tuesday’s show. Welcome back!
METHENY DOWN UNDER — Pat Metheny will return to Australia for Live Nation in 2020 for what is only his third ever Australian tour.
The jazz-superstar first toured Australia in 1985 and then again in 2014. The tour will include his long-time drummer, Antonio Sanchez, Malaysian/Australian bassist Linda May Han Oh and British pianist Gwilym Simcock.
Pat says he is coming to Australia with new music as well as his 40 years plus catalog.
SHORT TAKES — My bad: the new Stephen Bishop album doesn’t come out till next month. I await a copy … Here are two shots from Honey West last week at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room (thanks to Mark Ashe Photographer). Ted Zurkowski’s black-telecaster, I love! … Mark Bego’s Living The Luxe Life (Skyhorse), which he wrote with hotelier-Efrem Harkham, shot to # 1 two days after its release on Amazon. That’s three $#1’s in a row for Bego. Next up, Rocketman … an update of his Elton John-biography … NBC’s New Amsterdam, led by the excellent Ryan Eggold, really had quite the season finale; a baby was born; a former employee returned; and, then a major traffic accident by a patient who had just escaped from the hospital. Out of all the new shows last September, this one (and, CBS’ FBI) were really the ones to watch; and, I just saw a clip of their new season, with the headline one will die.Crazy, but I can’t wait to see it … Loving Brian Cox in HBO’s Succession.Sure, it’s loony-toon of a family, but like Dallas and Dynasty (the original one!)… addictive … It’s 9/11 in New York City -18 years later. I watched from afar the turmoil in downtown Manhattan; lived through that first night, my neighborhood covered is white soot … I think my firstthought is I can’t believe it’s all these years later. Walking in my neighborhood that night, there was a desperate, sad feeling in the air. We survived, each in a different way. I’m somewhat both amused and angered by the 9/11 tours, souvenirs, and hats. It wasn’t an event to celebrate by any means; trust me. Anyone who lived through all that, looks at it differently. Nothing but bad memories for sure.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Roy Trakin; Jonathan Wolfson; Sarah Clarke; Keith Girard; Anthony Noto; Bruce Goldberg; Paul Undersinger; Tyrone Biljan; Jacqueline Boyd; Beth Wernick; Steve Walter; Peter Abraham; and, CFS.