'American Idol' Not Paying Ryan Seacrest $15 Million A Year

Host's new deal refers to projects not related to show.

While people wonder just how much it would have cost "American Idol" to keep Paula Abdul as a judge following [article id="1617611"]her departure[/article] on Tuesday, executives for the show are clarifying earlier reports that its host, Ryan Seacrest, has re-upped his contract to earn a whopping [article id="1615708"]$15 million a year[/article].

According to Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice, Seacrest isn't actually getting paid that sum, adding that the host's contract with the show hadn't changed at all. "That's been written a lot recently," Rice said at the Television Critics Association panel on Thursday, "Access Hollywood" reported. "Ryan is still in his old contract on 'Idol.' "

He clarified that although the host may have gotten a raise, whatever additional money he is earning has nothing to do with his work on "Idol." According to Rice, the new amount comes from a deal Seacrest struck with 19 Entertainment parent company CKX. "Ryan made a deal with CKX, which encompasses much more than 'Idol,' " he said. "And Ryan is not being paid $15 million a year to be on 'Idol.' "

As for Abdul, [article id="1617803"]Rice doesn't think we'll see her coming back anytime soon[/article], but said that when the next judge is picked to join the panel, it'll be all about the chemistry. "I think that 'Idol' without Paula is going to be different," he said. "And I think that it's our job and the producers job to cast that well."

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