Newest “Today” show member Bush brought in the scoop of the Olympics so far when he randomly spotted gold-medal swimmer Lochte in Rio on Sunday, and interviewed him about being dramatically robbed at gunpoint.
Sources told us lucky Bush got the story in part because he’s been a “Today” outcast. “It can be a bit ‘Mean Girls,’ ” said a source of the cliques at “Today.” Former “Access Hollywood” host Bush just joined “Today” after landing the job in May.
Our source said instead of bonding with Matt Lauer and company, “Billy’s been hanging with his ‘Access Hollywood’ co-host Kit Hoover and colleagues” in Rio. “He was going shopping with her, and that’s when she spotted Lochte,” said the source. “No one at ‘Today’ could believe Billy got this interview.”
A source said of any “Today” staff socializing, “Billy is more of a frat guy . . . He gets boisterous when he goes out. You can’t just go out with Billy and have tapas and relax.” The source added that Bush wasn’t being included in “Today” after-hours fraternizing. But a “Today” insider insisted that Bush has been included in group dinners Thursday to Saturday, and a staff surfing outing.
Either way, after his scoop, Bush explained on-air to a sour-faced Natalie Morales and Al Roker he was with Hoover “to do a little shopping” when “Kit says, ‘Is that Lochte?!’ ” He added that he had just gone hiking with Hoover and “my old executive producer” of “Access Hollywood,” Rob Silverstein. Upon seeing Lochte, Bush’s first call was to Silverstein to get a camera crew — not to “Today” or Olympics executive producer Jim Bell — before going the quicker iPhone route.
Bush and Morales have also been appearing on “Access Hollywood” in Brazil.
Good-humored Bush told us of his Rio social life: “I’m hosting my own little dinner wars down here. Whomever picks the better restaurant, that’s who I’m with. Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other, bronze. Or something like that.”