Billy Bush out at 'Today'

"Billy Bush will be leaving the Today Show's 9 AM hour, effective today," NBC News Noah Oppenheim said in a note to staff.

In the carefully worded statement, Oppenheim called Bush "a valued colleague and longtime member of the broader NBC family" adding that they wish him success as he goes forward."

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In a separate statement, Bush said he was "deeply grateful for the conversations I've had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues" adding that he is looking "forward to what lies ahead."

With the announcement, NBC News has said so long to Bush, ridding itself of the Today show anchor heard round the TV news landscape giggling his way through a lewd conversation with Donald Trump about women, including Bush's then-Access Hollywood co-host Nancy O'Dell.

Billy Bush through the years
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Billy Bush through the years
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: NBC News' Billy Bush in conversation with Jeff Rossen for SiriusXM's TODAY Show Radio at SiriusXM Studios on August 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Billy Bush arrives for the women's final at Arthur Ashe Stadium on day 13 of the 2016 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/GC Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Billy Bush & Olympic Legend Carl Lewis for Speed-Walking Race for Ages at Copacabana beach on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Access Hollywood )
CULVER CITY, CA - MAY 21: TV personality/host Billy Bush attends the Kaleidoscope Ball at 3LABS on May 21, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Billy Bush visits 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' at Z100 Studio on February 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Radio host Billy Bush (L) and actress Olivia Jordan attend The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2016 Presented By Macy's at The Arc, Skylight at Moynihan Station on February 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for AHA)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Billy Bush visits 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' at Z100 Studio on February 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Billy Bush (L) and Bethany Watson at 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' at Z100 Studio on February 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 09: Billy Bush arrives at the Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles Annual Wishing Well Winter Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on December 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) TV personalities Billy Bush and Kit Hoover attend the Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles Annual Wishing Well Winter Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on December 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 09: TV personality Billy Bush speaks onstage during Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles Honoring Oscar De La Hoya, Michael Rosenfeld And Tom Mone at its Annual Wishing Well Winter Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles)
YOUNTVILLE, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Billy Bush attends the Celebrity Tribute during the Napa Valley Film Festival 2015 at the Lincoln Theatre on November 13, 2015 in Yountville, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 29: Master of Ceremonies Billy Bush attends the imagine1day Visionary Leadership Dinner at The London West Hollywood on October 29, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for imagine1day)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: TV host, Billy Bush attends 16th Annual Ubuntu Education Fund 1 Million to One: Changing The Odds Gala at Gotham Hall on June 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Radio host Billy Bush attends the Farrah Fawcett Foundation 1st annual Tex-Mex Fiesta at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Television personalities Bethenny Frankel (L) and Billy Bush tape a segment at 'Access Hollywood' at the NBC Rockefeller Center Studios on June 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 23: TV personality Billy Bush attends The CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards on April 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
BURBANK, CA - MARCH 08: TV Host Billy Bush attends the advance screening of 'Cinderella' benefiting Los Angeles JDRF at Walt Disney Studios on March 8, 2015 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE/SPECIAL RATES APPLY) TV host Billy Bush visits 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' at Z100 Studio on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Andy Cohen, Chloe Grace Moretz and Billy Bush -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: EXCLUSIVE ACCESS/SPECIAL RATES APPLY - Billy Bush visits 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' at Z100 Studio on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Billy Bush -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The news division is said to have paid handsomely to extricate itself from the storyline in which its recently hired Today show host sets up a hug between the Apprentice star and an NBC-employed actress the two men had pronounced hot as shit," immediately after Trump's bragged about his ability to grope attractive women with impunity because he's so rich.

Hours before the statements of Oppenheim and Bush were issued, Melania Trump, in a taped interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper blamed Bush for having "egged on" her husband to make those taped boasts, adding that the release of the tape on the eve of the second presidential debate is a conspiracy between the media and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Bush's lawyer, hotshot litigator Marshall Grossman swatted down a report late last week that his client had agreed to take $10M to cash him out of his contract, insisting no such deal had been reached. A $9M payout seems more accurate, sources say.

The announcement ended Bush's brief tenure at Today, having been announced in May to replace Willie Geist as host of the 9 AM hour because Bush had all those celebrity connections from his long run as the Peck's Bad Boy host of NBC's Access Hollywood.

SEE ALSO: Press secretary: Trump 'snorted' through 2 debates

Bush had been the hot new hire at Today until 10 days ago when the Washington Post released the 2005 caught-on-hot-mic tape that sent the GOP candidate's campaign, and Bush's career, into crisis mode.

But it was thought Bush had dodged a bullet and he had expected to be able to apologize on air a week ago today, having already released a statement about being "embarrassed and ashamed." But his prospects for survival dimmed considerably two days after the tape's release, when NBC News SVP Noah Oppenheim, who'd had hired Jeb Bush's cousin in May, raving about his boundless energy, great interviewing style and deep knowledge of pop culture, announced Bush was suspended, effective immediately, because "There is simply no excuse for Billy's language and behavior on that tape."

A series of NBC regulars has stepped in for Bush , including Al Roker, Carson Daly and, today and tomorrow, Harry Connick, Jr. star of NBCU TV Distribution's new daytime talk show.

Exits are getting pretty pricey for NBC News. Among its bigger-ticket exits: Today show veteran Ann Curry was paid $10 million to leave the program. Another NBC News veteran, David Gregory received a $4 million severance package when he was booted as host of NBC's Sunday Beltway show Meet The Press.

The length of Bush's Today show tenure is more in keeping with that of Jamie Horowitz, who had been hired to oversee all four hours of Today, only to be shown the door with a $3M payout, even before his official start date, after a disastrous pre-start-date tour of the troops.

RELATED: Net worth of "Today" show hosts:
Net worth of the ‘Today’ Show hosts
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Net worth of the ‘Today’ Show hosts

Billy Bush Net Worth: $9 Million

In May 2016, NBC News announced that Billy Bush would be joining the “Today” show starting in August. A co-host of the show’s third hour, he has at least temporarily lost his spot during his suspension. In addition to his on-screen presence, Bush's resume also includes radio work, as he hosted “The Billy Bush Show” and “The Weekend Countdown With Billy Bush.”

Matt Lauer Net Worth: $60 Million

Since joining the “Today” show in 1993 as a substitute news anchor, Matt Lauer has risen the ranks to one of the biggest names in morning television. Hired by “Today” as a permanent news anchor in 1994, he was promoted to a co-anchor of the show in 1997, where he has remained for nearly 20 years.

Lauer's work on “Today” and hosting "Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade" has resulted in five Daytime Emmy wins, and another News & Documentary Emmy Award. Lauer’s $25 million per year “Today” show salary earned him a spot on Forbes’ 2016 list of the world’s highest-paid TV show hosts, and his contract also includes an NBC-paid helicopter ride to work from his $15 million home in the Hamptons.

Al Roker Net Worth: $30 Million

Al Roker, co-anchor and weather and feature anchor, has been part of the “Today” show team since 1996. He’s won seven Daytime Emmy Awards for his work on “Today” and during "Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade," and has been named Best Weatherman twice by New York Magazine.

Typically a jovial on-air personality, Roker made headlines in August when he called U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte a liar after his story of being robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics fell apart. A video of him arguing about the incident with Billy Bush — a story he originally broke — during the “Today” show went viral.

Carson Daly Net Worth: $25 Million

Currently filling in for Bush as co-host of the “Today” show’s 9 a.m. hour, Carson Daly is the host of the morning show’s digital studio, the Orange Room. In addition to his “Today” duties, he has hosted “The Voice” since 2011 and his own talk show “Last Call With Carson Daly” since 2002. Daly’s gig on “The Voice" has earned him three Primetime Emmy Awards.

Dylan Dreyer Net Worth: $1 Million

Dylan Dreyer has been the “Weekend Today” weather anchor since 2012. She also serves as the substitute weather anchor and substitute Orange Room host on “Today” and gives weekend weather reports on MSNBC. Beloved by viewers, she was voted Boston’s Best Meteorologist in 2008, while working at WHDH in Boston.

Willie Geist Net Worth: $6 Million

Willie Geist has been hosting “Sunday Today with Willie Geist” since April 2016, and also serves as a co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and contributes to many NBC News shows. He started substituting at the “Today” show in 2010, before landing a permanent gig as a third hour co-anchor in 2012 — a spot he passed on to Bush in August 2016.


Kathie Lee Gifford Net Worth: $30 Million

Kathie Lee Gifford has co-hosted the “Today” show’s 10 a.m. hour since 2008. A morning show mainstay, she previously co-hosted “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” — currently “Live! with Kelly” — alongside Regis Philbin from 1985 to 2000. Also an accomplished singer, playwright, songwriter, author and actress, Gifford has appeared in a number of TV shows and movies, including “Difficult People,” “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” and “The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.”

Savannah Guthrie Net Worth: $2 Million

In addition to serving as a “Today” show co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie is also the NBC News chief legal correspondent. She initially joined “Today” as co-host of the third hour in 2011, but was promoted in 2012 to fill the show’s co-anchor spot vacated by the controversial departure of Ann Curry. Guthrie’s “Today” show contract was renewed for at least another three years in 2015.

Tamron Hall Net Worth: $5 Million

Tamron Hall is a co-host of the “Today” show’s 9 a.m. hour — also known as “Today’s Take.” Additionally, she serves as the anchor for “MSNBC Live” and hosts “Deadline Crime” on Investigation Discovery.

Serving as another “Today” staffer to make waves during the 2016 election, Hall got into a heated debate with actor Scott Baio following his speech in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention. During a live interview, she questioned controversial tweets from the former “Charles in Charge” star regarding Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Sheinelle Jones Net Worth: Unknown

Since 2014, Sheinelle Jones has served as the “Weekend Today” news anchor. She’s also a substitute news anchor and substitute Orange Room host on “Today.” Prior to landing her “Today” show gig, she was a co-host on Fox’s “Good Day Philadelphia.” A champion for children and youth organizations, she received many awards for her community involvement while living in Philadelphia.

Hoda Kotb Net Worth: $12 Million

Hoda Kotb has been the co-host of the “Today” show’s fourth hour since its 2007 debut. A veteran journalist, she served as a “Dateline NBC” correspondent from 2002 to 2014 — and won a News & Documentary Emmy in 2010 for her contributions to the show’s “Miracle on the Hudson” coverage. She also won a Peabody Award in 2006 for her work on the “Dateline NBC” hour-long documentary “The Education of Ms. Groves.”

Natalie Morales Net Worth: $16 Million

Currently serving as the “Today” show West Coast anchor, Natalie Morales has held numerous positions since joining the team as a national correspondent in 2006, including news anchor and co-host of the third hour. In addition to her “Today” duties, she’s also the host of “Access Hollywood” and co-host of “Access Hollywood Live.”

Morales' journalist efforts have resulted in multiple award nominations and a 2007 Daytime Emmy for Excellence in Morning Programming, along with the rest of the “Today” staff.

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