'Today' briefly addresses Billy Bush suspension

Hilary Lewis

In the first weekday broadcast since audio emerged of Donald Trump making lewd comments to Billy Bush on an Access Hollywood bus, NBC's Today show stuck to basic, minimal facts in its references to the tape and Bush's role in the incident.

Bush, who now co-hosts the third hour of NBC's Today, was initially expected to appear on Monday's show and apologize, again, for his role in the incident. But on Sunday night, NBC announced that Bush would not be on Monday's show and in fact had been suspended.

Still Today viewers were curious to see how the morning show would address Bush's role in the scandalous comments.

The morning show — hosted on Monday by Savannah Guthrie and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, filling in for Matt Lauer, who was off Monday — spent its first 15 minutes on Sunday night's second presidential debate, keeping any references to the tape minimal and in the context of what was said about them during the debate.

See photos of Billy Bush through the years:

The first extended reference to the tapes came from NBC News' reporter on the scene in St. Louis, Hallie Jackson, who referred to the "vulgar audio that's thrown [Trump's] campaign into crisis." During a news recap, she said the audio was "part of a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush during Access Hollywood, which is presented by NBCUniversal."

Trump and Clinton campaign managers Kellyanne Conway and Robby Mook, respectively, also referred to the tapes but didn't mention Bush by name, with Conway insisting that Trump has apologized and Mook countering that his characterization of his remarks as "locker room talk" was him "doubl[ing] down on his non-apology."

Chuck Todd, Nicolle Wallace, Steve Kornacki were then brought in to analyze the effect of Clinton and Trump's performances on the minds of voters.

See how celebrities reacted to Trump's debate performance on Sunday night:

It wasn't until the end of the opening segment that Guthrie addressed Bush's suspension, saying simply, "Pending further review, NBC News has suspended Billy Bush, who now hosts Today's third hour, for his role in the conversation."

Coverage then turned to the ongoing fallout from Hurricane Matthew.

Today's website, meanwhile, had a basic story about Bush's suspension, titled Billy Bush suspended from TODAY pending further review, in the second spot from the left on Monday morning, with a timestamp on the post indicating it had gone live during the NBC morning show.

More to come...

Here's how The Washington Post was able to break the story about the 2005 video: