E! to toast host with big payday

Seacrest new anchor for 'E! News'

E! Entertainment Television is spending beaucoup bucks to secure the services of Ryan Seacrest.

Cabler is finalizing a three-year deal in the high seven figures that calls for the “American Idol” host to become lead anchor of daily news flagship “E! News” and to develop original series for the network via his Ryan Seacrest Prods. banner.

It’s a hefty deal for Seacrest, who was just crowned heir-apparent to Dick Clark in a deal that will see him co-host — and eventually take over — ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” for the next several years (Daily Variety, Aug. 15).

For E!, coin involved is unprecedented; entertainment news cabler previously capped talent pacts at a much lower level.

Seacrest is expected to begin hosting duties for E! in late winter or early spring, and will also man the cabler’s red-carpet coverage beginning with the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 16.

Additional E! duties easily make Seacrest the busiest man in showbiz — and could pose some logistical nightmares for the host. He’s doing a daily radio show for Los Angeles’ KIIS-FM from 4-10 a.m. and “Idol” at least three times a week.

Still, his afternoon commute shouldn’t be too bad: E!’s Miracle Mile studios are barely a mile away from CBS Television City, where “Idol” shoots. What’s more, E! went to a non-live format in February this year (Daily Variety, Jan. 5), making it all the more accommodating for Seacrest’s packed sked.

Longtime correspondent and current anchor Giuliana DePandi, who has been flying solo since February, will remain with “E! News.” Skein has seen an uptick in ratings since opting to air a taped version of the newscast. In the fourth quarter, viewership was up 85% from a year ago among adults 18-49.

Seacrest had a short-lived go-round on the daytime circuit with the Twentieth TV-produced talker “On-Air With Ryan Seacrest.” Teen-targeted skein lasted eight months before getting pulled.

Aside from the aforementioned gigs, Seacrest serves as deejay for the weekly radio show “American Top 40” and held down Fox’s New Year’s fort for several years.

His previous news experience was back in the mid-’90s as a correspondent for syndicated showbiz skein “Extra.”

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