“American Idol” is coming back to primetime TV, and now Ryan Seacrest is coming back right along with it.
The announcement was made on Thursday on Seacrest’s other show, “Live with Kelly and Ryan”, with the host saying it was “absolutely” and “without a doubt” confirmed.
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that news comes after three months of negotiation between Seacrest and ABC, the rebooted show’s new network, also home to “Live”. ABC picked up the popular reality show earlier this year after it was originally cancelled by Fox in 2016.
It was no secret that Seacrest and the network were both hoping he’d be back as host, with ABC’s reality chief Rob Mills saying in May, “I think he can do both; he thinks he can do both, but he’s giving it some serious thought.”
The original plan had apparently been for the deal to be sealed in May, in time for the network’s upfronts presentation to critics and advertisers, but instead ABC used that platform to announce that Katy Perry would be joining the show as a judge, with an incredible $25 million payday.
Perry also tweeted to applaud the news of Seacrest coming back, and encouraged her fans to audition for the show.
At this point Perry is the only judge confirmed for the new “American Idol”, so having Seacrest, one of its original stars, coming back is a huge get.
“So much of American Idol’s overwhelming success can be attributed to Ryan, whose larger-than-life personality and laudable dedication to creating quality entertainment has made him a true master of his craft,” said ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey in a statement. “His talent is limitless, and I can’t think of a more appropriate person to honour the ‘Idol’ legacy as it takes on new life than the man who has been there through it all.”
Despite the desire to have Seacrest back, negotiations with the host very nearly fell apart in June, according to THR sources, after he was given a low-ball offer by the production company Fremantle, due in part to Perry’s huge fee limiting their budget. But ABC pushed for Seacrest, and the deal came together with an offer that included a salary over $10 million.
Seacrest will continue to be one of the busiest men in show business, filming live “Idol” shows in Los Angeles on Sunday evenings, then flying overnight to film in New York “Live” and his iHeartRadio drive-time show on Monday morning. Still, Seacrest is undoubtedly happy to be back doing the show that made him famous. “I’ve always loved the show,” he said in the spring. “And if I could do it forever, I would do it forever.”
Auditions for the new “American Idol” are set to start mid-August, with Seacrest appearing at only a few of them. The show’s sixteenth season will begin some time in 2018.