Today has been in the spotlight over the past couple of weeks, and not for a great reason. A tape featuring Today host Billy Bush and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaked to the press, and it showed the two men trading crude remarks about women. NBC moved quickly to suspend Bush from his hosting duties. Now, the network has selected who will fill in for him for a couple of episodes this week. Harry Connick Jr. is stepping in for Billy Bush on Today.
Billy Bush was actually working for Access Hollywood during the conversation with Donald Trump. Still, the video has been bad press for the anchor, who only joined Today a few months ago. The suspension hasn't yet turned into an outright firing, but Deadline reports that Bush will likely very soon be getting the boot from the network. Harry Connick Jr. signed on to appear in Bush's 9 a.m. ET hosting slot on Today for Monday, October 17 and will return on Tuesday, October 18.
Harry Connick Jr. is a logical choice to fill in for Billy Bush, whether he stays for only the two episodes or joins the Today team in an ongoing role. He has performed on the show many times over the years, and he recently filmed a segment for Today about the 2016 Rio Olympics. The singer/actor has the Today banter down pat, and he's gotten plenty of practice on the daytime TV front over the past month. He debuted a syndicated talk show called Harry on September 12. Connick's appearances on Today are reportedly part of a corporate synergy play by NBC Universal TV, which handles distribution for both Today and Harry.
At this point, Harry Connick Jr. is officially slated for just the two episodes of Today, and he's not exactly desperate for work now that he has his own show on the airwaves. Still, Today is a much bigger platform than the syndicated Harry, and it's not inconceivable that Connick could handle both shows. He's probably not joining the show in a more longterm capacity, but he could be a valuable addition for NBC as a guest host for a while.
The replacement of Billy Bush is only one of the steps being taken by production companies to distance themselves from the latest Donald Trump scandal. MGM has announced that unaired footage of Donald Trump making unsavory remarks from his time on Celebrity Apprentice will not be seeing the light of day, so we can't expect there will be any video from Celebrity Apprentice that could possibly take the heat off of the 2005 conversation between Billy Bush and Donald Trump.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest on Today, and check out our TV premiere schedule to see what you can catch on the small screen this fall.