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NBC to keep Billy Bush off air indefinitely as controversy mounts

NBC will keep Billy Bush on the bench Monday, instead of putting him on 'Today.'

In the wake of intense criticism over his role in an obscene and misogynistic conversation with Donald Trump, NBC show host Billy Bush will be kept off the "Today" show indefinitely by NBC.

The 2005 tape of Bush and Trump talking like two sexual predators about a woman they were about to meet on a Hollywood soundstage surfaced Friday afternoon, and has dominated coverage of the presidential contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton since.

Bush, 44, offered a tepid apology Friday night for his part in the conversation, stressing that it happened 11 years ago, but it only fueled more criticism and animosity toward the host of the 9 a.m. hour of "Today."

NBC reportedly said on Friday that there would be no reprimand of Bush and that he would be on the air Monday. But by Saturday night, it became obvious to anyone who wasn't running NBC that ignoring the firestorm mounting against Bush would be impossible. Bush and Trump were the target of repeated ridicule on "Saturday Night Live."

NBC announced the benching of Bush Sunday night.

Bush, who joined "Today" in August, has been controversial almost since his arrival - most notably for doing a super-soft interview with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and then refusing to call Lochte's shifting accounts of a drunken night at the Olympics lies. Al Roker called Bush out on the air for it.

Read my column calling for the firing of Bush over his role in encouraging Trump's predatory talk here.

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