Since the public last heard from Billy Bush in October, he's walked on hot coals with Tony Robbins, gone to an intense healing retreat in Northern California, picked up yoga and meditation, and watched — twice — the leaked video from 2005 that showed him laughing along as Donald Trump described grabbing women without their consent.
Following the release of the video, Bush was fired by NBC News while Trump became president, and "the irony is glaring," Bush told The Hollywood Reporter in his first interview in seven months, published Sunday. The former Access Hollywood Live host said he is not sure who leaked the tape to The Washington Post, but "plenty of people" at NBC knew about it, and he first watched it three days before it was posted. The video leaves him "totally and completely gutted," Bush said. "Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. [Trump] liked TV and competition. I could've said, 'Can you believe the ratings on whatever?' But I didn't have the strength of character to do it."
Bush said he was "almost sycophantic" at the time, "wanting celebrities to like me and fit in," and when he interviewed Trump, the former Apprentice host usually brought up three topics: "Golf, gossip, or women." While his friends and family interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter think he got the short end of the stick, with some believing it's because he's part of a political dynasty, Bush disagrees. "The situation happened because I participated in a terrible moment and it became public," he said. "It doesn't matter what your name is. Anyone who is participating in that moment is going to get it. In that way, I deserved it." Bush is ready to be back in the public eye, developing a series that would involve pop culture, sports, and interviews, and wants people to know his "skin is definitely thicker now, and my heart is a little softer underneath it." Read the entire interview, including tidbits about the intense group therapy he attended in the aftermath of his firing, at The Hollywood Reporter. Catherine Garcia
At the University of Chicago on Monday, former President Barack Obama offered his first public remarks since leaving office in January. Obama recalled his past as a community organizer in Chicago, and said his "next job" will be to help "prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton."
Obama was at the school to serve as a moderator for a civic engagement discussion panel featuring six Chicago-area students, and he questioned the students about how the country can tackle "the barriers discouraging young people from a life of service." While he avoided mentioning President Trump in his remarks, Obama did begin by joking: "What's been going on while I've been gone?"
Catch a snippet of Obama's remarks below. Becca Stanek
Watch: For his “next job,” former President Obama says he wants to “prepare the next generation of leadership.” https://t.co/3nMu9AGrzB
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 24, 2017
On Monday, former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly will release the first episode of his podcast, No Spin News, since he parted ways with Fox News last Wednesday amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Earlier this month, it was reported by The New York Times that O'Reilly and the network paid $13 million to settle with at least five women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment and verbal abuse, and women continued to step forward with new accusations up until the day he was fired. O'Reilly, whose show The O'Reilly Factor was the highest-rated cable news program, has denied the allegations.
No Spin News will go live at 7 p.m. ET Monday, available for premium members of O'Reilly's website. It is unclear if he will address his firing or what has happened over the last weeks. Catherine Garcia
Taking the stage for his first news conference since July, President-elect Donald Trump immediately addressed a controversial report released Tuesday night that claimed U.S. intelligence officials had received word that Russia possessed incriminating information on Trump. The dossier, which several news organizations said was full of unverified and unconfirmed — though bombastic — claims, was published by BuzzFeed News in full Tuesday night. Trump wasted no time in condemning the report, and criticized intelligence agencies for "maybe" releasing that "nonsense," which he said "should have never been written":
Trump: "It was released maybe by the intelligence agencies -- who knows ... which would be a tremendous blot on their record" pic.twitter.com/rq2zf67rtQ
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) January 11, 2017
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer opened the press conference by slamming BuzzFeed as a "left-wing blog," and saying its public release of the dossier was "outrageous and frankly irresponsible." Trump in recent weeks has taken to doubting U.S. intelligence, and he was especially hesitant to accept the intelligence community's conclusions that Russian President Vladimir Putin had directed cyberattacks on the U.S. in order to help Trump win the presidential election.
Both Trump and the Kremlin have denied Russia possesses any incriminating information on the president-elect. Kimberly Alters
Jon Stewart returned to The Daily Show last night with one mission in mind: To bash Congress for not following through with granting healthcare to 9/11 first responders. Stewart slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for not keeping his promise to first responders five and a half years ago and blocking the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act — which would permanently reauthorize an expiring healthcare program for 9/11 responders — from being included in the highway bill up for passage.
"Here's what I believe it is: Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn't give a shit about anything but politics," Stewart said Monday night in his first appearance on the show since he stepped down in August. "The first responders were told the Zadroga Act would be included — they were told this last week — in the transportation bill passed last week. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pulled it out of the transportation bill when he didn't get concessions about loosening oil export regulations."
Stewart has been working on the issue since 2010, when he held a panel of four 9/11 first responders ahead of the bill's initial passage that year. "As this bill comes up this week, we're going to keep [McConnell] to his word," first responder Kenny Specht, a member of Stewart's first panel, said Monday night. Of the three other members of the original panel, one had died and two were too ill to make it.
Watch the full clip below. Becca Stanek
Jon Stewart is back on television. But this time, he'll be working behind the scenes. Politico reported Wednesday morning that the former Daily Show host is an executive producer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, meaning that he "has a voice in behind-the-scenes conversations about the show's production and creative direction," CNN reports.
The show's two other executive producers, Tom Purcell and Meredith Bennett, were announced last month; Stewart's involvement wasn't confirmed by CBS until Wednesday morning. Stewart has already made an in-person appearance on the show, too: In the program's cold-open, Stewart, clad in umpire attire, announced the show's start by shouting, "Play ball!" and singing the national anthem. Becca Stanek