Former ‘Extra’ Co-Host Makes Strong Comments on Billy Bush Getting a Second Chance

Former Access Hollywood and Today Show co-host Billy Bush recently made his return to television, launching the revamped entertainment news program Extra, now entitled Extra Extra.

As many are sure to remember, Bush was fired from the Today Show in 2016 due to the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape of his highly inappropriate conversation with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Bush’s career and reputation took a beating after being ousted, with some seeing his recent resurgence as a second chance. A former co-host from the original version of Extra is now speaking out about Bush manning the desk of the rebooted program.

“Extra Extra’s” Billy Bush | Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

A fresh start

Bush took his time away from the spotlight to reflect, recently recalling the first time he heard the tape of his controversial conversation with the soon-to-be President. “It was awful. And my participation was awful, too,” the talk show host told the Hollywood Reporter of his own behavior. “It was my first year as co-host of Access Hollywood, and I was an insecure person, a bit of a pleaser, wanting celebrities to like me and fit in… But I went way too far in my desire to keep this No. 1 star happy.”

Now Bush is hoping to put the past behind him with his new post on the revamped Extra Extra. “They call it ‘the comeback,’” he said, as reported by USA Today. “You can give it any name you want to call it, but you’re obviously coming from something, and it’s that.”

Bush owes his new gig to television producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, who gave him the chance to head the rebooted entertainment news program. “I looked him in the eye and said, ‘I don’t know if you have enough humility for people to welcome you back,’” Gregorisch-Dempsey said, according to The New York Times. “America loves a comeback story. But we have to like you for America to like you.”

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Nice to see you again #ExtraExtra Sept 9

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Not offering a Ray of sunshine

A former co-host from the original Extra recently weighed in on Bush’s appointment to the new show’s anchor chair. According to Urban Hollywood 411, Tanika Ray worked on Extra from 2004 to 2009, then returned in 2017. She left the show last month due to the impending staff changes that were making headlines. “Two or three weeks out, the crew didn’t know if they were staying. So there’s something about the way that they operate where there’s just, they operate by silence and mystery,” she said of the show’s producers.

Ray recently commented on Bush’s manning the news desk on Extra Extra. “Only in America. I think that we live in a country where it’s been proven time and time again, that privilege is real,” Ray said. “He can make a comeback.”

The former Extra co-host compared Bush to one of her former colleagues, A.J. Calloway, who was suspended by Warner Bros. after he faced several allegations of sexual assault. Calloway denied the claims, with the Hollywood Reporter printing a statement by his lawyer in July, saying, “Mr. Calloway maintains that these unsubstantiated allegations are patently false. He vehemently denies that he ever assaulted anyone and looks forward to clearing his name.” Yahoo! Entertainment reports that Calloway left the network in July by mutual decision.

Implying a double standard

Ray went on to suggest that Calloway, who is African-American, was being held by a double standard. “Whereas one of my co-hosts, A.J. Calloway, he was allegedly involved in some sexual scandal. It’s never been proven, but he will never work in TV again,” Ray said. “But that’s America, isn’t it? And once we understand the reality of it, we can move to changing that. But sure, he [Bush] can get another chance. That’s sort of the world we live in.”

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Happy #worldsmileday

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Not much has been heard from Calloway since his departure from Extra. As for Ray’s affiliation with the current reboot, Gregorisch-Dempsey said she is welcome to contribute to the show on an occasional basis, but also refuted Ray’s comments that she wasn’t informed of the show’s staff changes. “I feel like I gave Tanika more than enough notice,” she said. “I told both of her representatives, and Tanika, by April.”

Extra Extra is now in syndication.