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Whether or not Ryan Seacrest really is on his way to becoming the next Dick Clark, one thing's for sure—he's definitely doing his level best to stay a household name. A household name who sleeps on a bed of money.
Seacrest has inked a deal to stay on as American Idol's easy-breezy, ultra-tan MC, thus assuring that his increasingly ubiquitous TV presence will be alive and well for at least two more years. Despite Idol's faltering ratings, paychecks are apparently on the rise for Fox's singing competition, because you're not going to believe the cash he's going to be pulling down each year.
Well, or maybe you will. After all, American Idol is rapidly becoming known for their insane-even-by-entertainment-industry talent costs, with both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez reportedly making well over $10 million per season. (Poor Randy Jackson is rumored to be in the $5 million bracket, which I'm sure he would describe as "Just okay for me, dog.")
As for Ryan Seacrest, sources say he'll be earning $15 million per year for his hosting duties. It's a lot of money, but I think if anyone on that particular show deserves it, he does. After all, he's been with the Idol since it launched in 2002, and his signature, easygoing style has surely done a lot to contribute to the show's success.
Not to mention how quickly he's able to roll with the punches—remember in season 10 when Casey Abrams was saved by the judges and Abrams had, like, a total stress-related meltdown on live television and practically barfed down his shirt in shock, and Seacrest was all suave and cool-headed and helped him to his feet and was like, "You okay, buddy?" That's just professionalism, right there.
In a statement about his renewed deal, Seacrest said,
For the last 11 seasons, I've had the privilege to be a part of one of television's most iconic shows. It's been a wild ride, and I'm excited for my journey with American Idol to continue. The legions of fans, amazingly talented contestants, judges, and producers, along with the hard working 'Idol' crew, impress me every time we go on air and make hosting the show a dream job.
One of Fox's execs also underscored Seacrest's value to the show, saying,
Ryan is one of a kind. His ability to engage the viewers, keep the contestants at ease during intense moments and adapt to any situation, especially during the live shows, solidifies him as the absolute best in the business. He is an integral part of why American Idol is a true phenomenon, and we can't imagine doing this show without him.
Seacrest is going to continue to be a very busy guy in the next few years—aside from his regular Idol gig, he's a radio DJ, an entertainment news anchor for E!, will be covering the Olympics for Today, and plans to launch an entertainment cable channel this summer. Whew, I feel like I need a nap just typing that. He may be earning a freakishly inflated salary compared to the rest of us mere mortals, but you can't say he doesn't work his pint-sized butt off for it.
(Speaking of mortals … just how bitter do you suppose Idol's original co-host, Brian Dunkleman, is feeling these days?)
What do you think, is Ryan Seacrest worth the $15 million per year for American Idol?
Image via American Idol