In his op-ed piece, Billy Bush wrote: "The key to succeeding in my line of work was establishing a strong rapport with celebrities."
By the time I was approached to work on WNBC News, I had hosted my own weeknight celebrity talk show on VH1, I'd been invited by Lucille Ball to come over to her home for cocktails, I'd been taken out to dinner by Val Kilmer, I'd spoken to Mary Tyler Moore a few times on the phone, and I'd flown to London for an exclusive 1-hour VH1 interview with Paul McCartney. Here's a short clip.
By February 2003, Billy Bush was not only a regular on NBC's ACCESS HOLLYWOOD, he was hosting the Miss Universe pageant on national TV and he was promoting his primetime NBC revival of LET'S MAKE A DEAL. He'd taped 5 episodes.
Billy Bush went network a year after he started on WNBC local and he went on to make millions. He was advanced. I don't think he had to fight for a promotion. Not the way employees of color probably had to. Still, his opinion piece brought up some good points. And the writing was mature. I worked with Billy for one week. New York City morning radio station, WPLJ, had its own version of AMERICAN IDOL for a week in 2003. I was one of the guest judges. Billy Bush was another one. He struck me as an overaged, privileged frat boy who graduated without having studied much.
When Billy was fired from TODAY a year ago, leaving the show with only one contributor member of the Bush Family (Jenna Bush Hager), he was reportedly given a $9 million severance. He's looking for work. So am I. I've been seeking steady work since 2011.
What a tale of three former NBC talents! TODAY is erasing all memory of Matt Lauer and Billy Bush, related to two living former U.S. Republican presidents, is challenging Trump, our current Republican president. If only NETWORK screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky had lived to see all this.
Here's some more of my VH1 history that WNBC local news bosses of mine ignored from 1992 to 1995.