A week after it was announced that Michael Strahan was leaving Live! With Kelly and Michael for Good Morning America, it looks like NBC is making a switcheroo of their own. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Billy Bush is leaving Access Hollywood and going to work at the daytime morning show Today.
According to reports, the news is expected to be announced when NBC has its upfronts presentation on May 16, 2016, though Bush and Access Hollywood have known about the move since October.
Bush has been part of the NBC family for years, starting off his broadcast career at WNBC’s Today in New York. He joined Access Hollywood in 2001 and became co-anchor of the show in 2004. He’s also the co-anchor of Access Hollywood Live, which he co-hosts with Kit Hoover.
He’s also been a part of NBC’s Olympic coverage since the 2004 Olympic games, which took place in Athens, Greece.
Bush has been saying goodbye to his Access Hollywood coworkers as he’ll have to move from Los Angeles (where Access Hollywood is filmed) to New York City (where Today is filmed).
Bush is expected to step in and help co-host the 9 a.m. hour of Today, which is currently hosted by Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Tamron Hall and Al Roker. Geist also hosts the Sunday edition of Today. At this point, it’s unknown if Bush will be rotated into the hosting gig or if he’ll replace Geist completely.
If he joins the 9 a.m. hour of Today, he’ll be in direct competition with ABC’s Live! With Kelly and Michael.
Bush is slated to start his hosting in September, which will provide NBC the ability to promote him as a new host of Today during the Rio Olympics, which are airing on NBC starting on August 5. This is similarly what NBC did when Savannah Guthrie took over for Ann Curry in 2012 and when Jay Leno passed The Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Currently, Today is leading Good Morning America in the 25-54 demographic for the current TV season. However, GMA is still the most watched morning show, but it has dropped in double digits in the demographic, which The Hollywood Reporter says is part of the reason the morning show talked Michael Strahan into hosting the show full time, starting in September (most likely around the same time Bush would start hosting Today at 9 a.m.).
The Hollywood Reporter also said the 9 a.m. hour of Today is one of the struggling hours of the show and they’re hoping that bringing Bush on board will help fix part of that problem.