“Access Hollywood” cohost Billy Bush is officially joining NBC’s “Today” show.
Noah Oppenheim, NBC News’ SVP and executive in charge of “Today,” made the announcement in a memo to staff on Tuesday, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Bush will join the morning show in August to cover the Summer Olympics in Rio, then join the 9 a.m. team — currently cohosted by Willie Geist, Tamron Hall, and Al Roker — full-time in September.
Former “Today” news reader Natalie Morales is moving over to anchor “Access Hollywood.” She will still contribute to NBC News.
In light of “Live” cohost Michael Strahan’s exit to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Bush is likely seen as an opportunity for “Today” to shore up its recently recovered lead in the morning ratings.
NBC is currently leading in the news demographic important to advertisers, 25- to 54-year-olds, though “GMA” still attracts the most total viewers. Strahan is viewed as “GMA’s” tactic for getting its news demo up.
Bush joined “Access Hollywood,” which is a syndicated show under NBCUniversal, in December 2001 as an East Coast correspondent. He’s currently a lead cohost for the show.
Read Oppenheim’s memo to staff below:
Hi Everyone —
I’m excited to share official word that Billy Bush is coming to Today. He’ll join the current 9a anchors as [co-executive producer] Tammy [Filler] and her team continue to build a compelling and competitive hour focused on lifestyle and entertainment.
Billy has been a part of the Today extended family for quite some time — he brings boundless energy, a great interviewing style and a deep knowledge of pop culture. During 15 years as host of Access Hollywood, and 6 years as co-host of Access Live, Billy has covered and interviewed literally everyone in Hollywood. Following an early start in radio, Billy broke into TV as a freelancer on WNBC. He credits his very first segment, involving a painful chest-waxing incident (well before Steve Carell) with him getting the full-time gig.
You’ll start to see Billy on the show during the Olympics in August. Please join Tammy and me in welcoming Billy to Today!