Though he still has to pen a best-selling book to qualify, Ryan Seacrest is leaping closer to becoming the new King of All Media.
The American Idol host, who turned 31 on Christmas Eve, and his Ryan Seacrest Productions have signed a $21-million contract with the E! cable network to develop, produce and host a variety of programs that, in some cases, are scheduled to run simultaneous with his duties on Idol.
The new deal, which is said to cover approximately three years, calls for Seacrest to executive produce the network’s Live from the Red Carpet awards-show coverage, starting with the Jan. 16 Golden Globes Awards. In addition, he will serve as managing editor of E! News; will produce and host celebrity interview specials; act as tower host of red-carpet shows; and start – in March – as lead anchor E! News.
Seacrest will also continue as host of Idol, which returns to FOX on Jan. 16, and he will still occasionally fill in as host of CNN’s Larry King Live, according to an E! press release, which also notes that Seacrest is being groomed to be sole host of ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. (Last Saturday night, a debilitated Clark, 76, reappeared on the show after missing it last year due to a stroke, the effects of which were strikingly apparent on the air.)
“I am looking forward to being part of the E! team,” Seacrest said in a statement. “This unique opportunity allows my company to take the next step in providing multimedia content.”
On radio, Seacrest will continue to host the weekly American Top 40 as well as the Los Angeles KIIS-FM morning show On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
In his personal life – though with his heavy work schedule, it is a wonder how he could have one – in April 2004 Seacrest brushed off stories that he became quietly engaged to his girlfriend, Shanna Walls. While the New York Post claimed that boyish bachelor Seacrest wanted to keep the engagement under wraps because he didn’t want to dampen his popularity with young girls, his rep told the paper, “They are just dating.”
Since then, no marriage reports have surfaced.