- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2016

While his role in Donald Trump’s “locker room” talk has damaged his TV career, NBC’s Billy Bush could make out well in a severance settlement if he’s picked up any of the real-estate developer’s art-of-the-deal acumen.

The suspended “Today” show co-host Billy Bush could get a $3 million-per-year payout on his contract with NBC if the network tries to resolve the TV personality’s severance amicably, but things could get messy for the network if it cites the infamous hot-mic audio with Mr. Trump from 2005 as grounds for Mr. Bush’s firing, The Hollywood Reporter explained on Thursday.

“Sources say Bush does not want to make the negotiations rancorous by naming names,” THR said “But if it attempts to fire him for cause — perhaps invoking a morality clause standard in media contracts — talks could quickly go south.”

Mr. Bush, a first cousin to former Gov. Jeb Bush, a 2016 primary challenger of Mr. Trump’s, “likely will agree not to discuss the terms of his exit if a deal can be worked out to his liking. But if not, Bush could choose to go public with his side of the Trump story and NBC’s role in the debacle.”

It was previously reported that Mr. Bush had bragged to coworkers as early as August that he was in possession of the damaging tape. 

For its part, NBC News’ top brass denied any knowledge of the audiotape prior to early October, THR said.

NBC News did exactly what you would expect from a great news organization,” THR quoted an NBC spokesperson from a statement. “As soon as we saw the tape and made the assessment it was undoubtedly newsworthy, we moved quickly and deliberately to get it published and to do so in the most responsible way.”

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