For nearly a decade, Ryan Seacrest has been the steady, reliable face of “American Idol.” He’s weathered the storm of judge changes, questionable champions and a nonstop barrage of abuse from former lead panelist Simon Cowell.
During that time, Seacrest’s media empire has blossomed to include not just multiple radio and TV hosting gigs, but producer credits on a slew of reality shows, like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and its offshoots, that have minted their own stars. Now, Seacrest is reportedly embarking on his highest-profile TV move to date.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Seacrest is in early talks with NBC to helm a music-themed prime-time reality show. But unlike “Idol” or tormentor Cowell’s upcoming “X Factor” (or new competition, NBC’s “The Voice”), the new Ryan Seacrest Productions joint is reportedly not a traditional music competition show.
At press time, it was not clear if Seacrest would act as host of the new show, and because the plan is so early in its stages, the exact concept of the program is still being fleshed out. The Reporter said the only thing that’s known is that Seacrest’s new show would not directly compete with “Idol,” which pays him $15 million a year and continues to be TV’s undisputed ratings champ.
As for when this unnamed show might debut, the trade magazine pointed out that Seacrest’s contract with “Idol” parent company CKX — which expires at the end of next season — doesn’t allow him to appear on any other broadcast network until 2012.
The New York Post, which broke the story on Monday, quoted NBC’s head of alternative programming as saying that the Seacrest concept is a “totally different kind of competition show” that would unfold in “self-contained episodes.” He said it was “a bit more fun” and rather than being “contestant competitive,” it is more “artist competitive.”
In an interview with the Reporter in late March, Seacrest stressed, “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to host a show competing with ‘Idol.’ … I think it’s possible [to be the face of another show in the future], but at this point I certainly have not even gone down that road because ‘Idol’ is in a great place, so I think we’re just enjoying that and we want to focus on that.”
In addition to his multiple shows starring the Kardashian sisters and ABC’s “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” the new music-themed NBC show would be one of 20 programs RSP has in development at the moment, many of them with NBCUniversal.
Don’t miss “Idol Party Live” every Thursday at noon on MTV.com for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke — get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.