New deal keeps TV host with show through 2012

The “American Idol” franchise is about to get even more pricey for Fox and producers 19 Ent. and FremantleMedia North America.

Not only is chief judge Simon Cowell negotiating a huge new payday — rumored to be more than $100 million per year — but host Ryan Seacrest has just sealed a rich new contract that will pay him $15 million annually (for a total of $45 million). Other judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi are also expected to ink new deals to return next year.

Seacrest’s pact, which keeps him on “Idol” through 2012, also makes the host/producer exclusive in primetime to 19 Ent. owner CKX.

“Ryan is an essential ingredient to ‘American Idol’s’ success,” said “Idol” creator and 19 Ent. CEO Simon Fuller.

The Seacrest empire already includes a multi-year megadeal with Comcast, where he has first-look rights through August 2011. Seacrest already produces several shows for cablers such as E! Entertainment (where he also serves as anchor and managing editor of “E! News”).

Seacrest’s wide range of radio properties includes his syndicated morning show “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” and the weekly “American Top 40.”

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