A year after he was fired from Today, Billy Bush is returning to TV. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bush will appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday night.
It will not only be the first time Bush has appeared on Stephen Colbert's late night show but his first TV appearance since last year's infamous Access Hollywood tape in which then presidential candidate Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. In the 2005 tape, which surfaced right before the 2016 election, Trump says he can grab women "by the pussy" because "when you're a star, they let you do it.” Bush is heard laughing throughout the footage.
Bush would tell The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year that he was "gutted" by the footage. "Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. [Trump] liked TV and competition," he said. "I could've said, 'Can you believe the ratings on whatever?' But I didn't have the strength of character to do it."
This interview might be Bush's chance at redemption, but it's unlikely to be a puff piece. Colbert hasn't been kind to the Trump administration or those connected to it even if he has invited them to his show. When Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, Colbert was civil but didn't miss any opportunity to roast "The Mooch," whose White House role lasted only 10 days.
Colbert also might want to redeem himself after inviting Sean Spicer to the Emmys, a move that for many people was seen as "normalizing" the former White House press secretary's lying at the podium.
Bush's first interview comes at a time when the Access Hollywood tape once again back in the news after Trump reportedly claimed the video was "not authentic." Access Hollywood responded to those claims, stating "Let us make this perfectly clear. The tape is very real." It's something Trump already admitted last year when he apologized for the tape saying it was "locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago."
Bush's sit-down also comes just days after Today host Matt Lauer was fired by NBC after allegations of sexual misconduct becoming the latest in a long list of powerful men who have been taken down for sexual harassment or assault allegations this year. It's just another thing Colbert can add to the list, probably right after asking Bush how he feels about being the only person on the Access Hollywood tape to experience any repercussions.
As to why Bush, who recently separated from his wife of 20 years, agreed to this interview, you just need to look back to his interview with The Hollywood Reporter from earlier this year. In it, Bush talked about wanting a chance to apologize on-air. "I would have welcomed addressing the audience," he said.
Now he'll get that chance, but will anyone be willing to accept it? He'll have to wait and see.
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