"I came out of nowhere." Tim "Treeboy" Bush's contract with Channel 13 expired in January.
Tim "Treeboy" Bush of Channel 13 wasn't offered a new contract when his old one expired Jan. 7. So for the third - and perhaps final - time, the popular feature reporter is off the air.
"I'm happy that it's over," Bush, 49, said over breakfast not long ago. "I don't want to pretend that I did not see it coming - I did."
Bush describes his role at WTHR as the equivalent of tea on the menu at Starbucks. That is, he was there if needed but wasn't vital to the success of the operation. He was always an independent contractor, never a station employee.
His earliest appearances were as a guest, talking about landscaping. As the frequency of his appearances increased - "all of a sudden, the information I had was useful and they felt I was the kind of character who cut through and added to their news program" - they signed him to a contract. "Whatever the money was," he said, "it was always easier than digging up stumps."
Immediately, Bush felt at ease on camera. "It was the first reality television show I can ever remember - and I was in it. You take this landscaper who was just out doing this stuff, you put him in front of the camera and say, 'Go!'"
Viewers liked his naturally gregarious, friendly personality, and he became one of the most popular personalities on local TV. Now that he's not on - he's been replaced by local landscaper Dean Hill, who also has a show on the DIY cable network - Bush is ready to write the next chapter of his life. He expects his career might go in any number of directions, from morning radio to working in a hardware store to "beginning my years of early retirement and underemployment."
"If this was a reality television show, I won," he said with a laugh. "There was no prize, but I won. I had success. I came out of nowhere. I did television, I won a lot of cool awards, I worked with some really talented people, I think the public - regardless of whether I'm on or not - they still like me. I got out in time."